23 years for Ben Butler

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Father to go on trial for daughter's murder

Post  Freedom on Wed 13 May 2015, 9:01 am

http://www.suttonguardian.co.uk/news/12930877.Father_to_go_on_trial_for_murder_of_six_year_old_daughter/?ref=ar

Some of us will remember a topic on CMoMM about this case and what is unusual about it.

No discussion about it now that the trial is starting; this is just for information.
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Re: 23 years for Ben Butler

Post  Freedom on Wed 20 Apr 2016, 5:25 pm

For some reason, the trial started nearly a year late.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-36092752

It can now be mentioned that Ellie was taken into care as a baby and then returned when her father's assault conviction was quashed. I am surprised that the jury has already been informed of this.
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Re: 23 years for Ben Butler

Post  Andrew on Tue 21 Jun 2016, 2:29 pm

Father Murdered Girl 11 Months After Custody Win

Ben Butler concocted an elaborate plot to make it appear his daughter Ellie had an accidental fall, the Old Bailey heard.
14:20, UK,
Tuesday 21 June 2016

A man has been sentenced to life with a minimum of 23 years for murdering his six-year-old daughter in a fit of rage.

Ben Butler, 36, killed his daughter Ellie just 11 months after winning her back in a high-profile custody battle.

He inflicted horrific head injuries on the youngster while looking after her and her sibling at home in October 2013.


Butler was convicted of murder and child cruelty following a trial at the Old Bailey.

His partner, Jennie Gray, 36, was jailed for 42 months for child cruelty and perverting the course of justice.


Butler mumbled angrily as the verdicts were returned and vowed to "fight forever", while Gray said: "Big mistake, big mistake, big mistake."

During mitigation the court heard Gray had only just been told her mother died on 19 April.

Apparently, her family wanted the news kept from her while the trial was ongoing.

The Old Bailey heard that after battering Ellie to death Butler put off dialling 999 for two hours and instead summoned Gray back from work in the City of London.

The pair then concocted an elaborate plot to destroy evidence and create the scene of an accidental fall before phoning the ambulance service.

In the chaotic call, former EastEnders actress Gray screamed and shouted at the operator and carried out CPR, despite knowing her daughter was dead.

The couple even involved Ellie's younger sibling by sending the child into her room on the pretext of fetching her for cake, jurors were told.

The child can be heard on the 999 call saying Ellie "won't wake up".

The killing came months after the children were returned to their parents following accusations that Butler violently shook Ellie when she was seven weeks old

Unemployed Butler, of Sutton, south London, had been found guilty of assaulting Ellie in 2007 but the conviction was quashed on appeal.

In November 2012, he was "exonerated" by a family court judge who declared a "happy ending" as she handed Ellie back.

Soon after Butler became frustrated at being a stay-at-home father while Gray, a graphic designer, went out to work, the trial heard.

The jury was shown a stream of expletive-ridden text messages which showed Butler as abusive and violent towards his partner and constantly on the brink of exploding at the children.

Ellie's severe head injuries were compared to those of a high-speed road crash victim.

Butler claimed they were suffered earlier when she fell while playing with their Jack Russell puppy and could have turned fatal when she jumped up and down watching Peppa Pig on television.

Gray admitted attempting to cover up for her partner but said it was only to protect an "innocent man".

She denied "sacrificing" Ellie's well-being for the sake of her relationship, and putting Butler before the children.

Investigating officer Detective Inspector Dave Reid said: "Butler and Gray set about orchestrating a set of lies to blame everyone but themselves for Ellie's murder and the events leading up to it.

"They lied throughout the investigation and continued making outlandish accusations against a variety of people and organisations throughout their trial."

He added: "Whilst their convictions will bring little comfort to Ellie's beloved grandparents ...

"I hope they will go some little way to assuring them justice has now been achieved."

Jailing Butler, Mr Justice Wilkie said: "You are a self-absorbed, ill-tempered, violent and domineering man who, I am satisfied, regarded your children and your partner as trophies, having no role other than to fit in with your infantile and sentimentalised fantasy of family life."

He told a sobbing Gray that she may have been "exceptionally naive and stupid" to believe Butler and take part in the cover-up.
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Re: 23 years for Ben Butler

Post  Andrew on Tue 21 Jun 2016, 2:31 pm

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Re: 23 years for Ben Butler

Post  chirpyinsect on Tue 21 Jun 2016, 4:18 pm


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

Was this the same Justice Hogg who made Madeleine a ward of court?

ETA I think it is. This from the Telegraph

Their case is being heard in the Family Division because it involves the welfare of a child. Mrs Justice Hogg, a specialist in child welfare cases, is the sister of former cabinet minister Douglas Hogg and the daughter of former Lord Chancellor Lord Hailsham.

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Re: 23 years for Ben Butler

Post  Andrew on Tue 21 Jun 2016, 5:03 pm

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/judge-who-handed-girl-back-8246164

Snipped:

Judge who handed girl back to killer dad Ben Butler was warned 'you'll have blood on your hands'

....Speaking about Dame Mary Hogg, who has now retired.

Snipped from Hogg's wiki:

During a court hearing on 7 July 2008 Hogg made an extraordinary plea to Madeleine's abductor to "show mercy and compassion" and reveal her whereabouts.[5]
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Re:23 years for Ben Butler.

Post  costello on Tue 21 Jun 2016, 5:12 pm

Andrew wrote:http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/judge-who-handed-girl-back-8246164

Snipped:

Judge who handed girl back to killer dad Ben Butler was warned 'you'll have blood on your hands'

....Speaking about Dame Mary Hogg, who has now retired.

Snipped from Hogg's wiki:

During a court hearing on 7 July 2008 Hogg made an extraordinary plea to Madeleine's abductor to "show mercy and compassion" and reveal her whereabouts.[5]

Interesting to say the least Andrew....
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Re: 23 years for Ben Butler

Post  bluebell on Tue 21 Jun 2016, 5:35 pm

The last two Guardian links Andrew has posted show how shocking Justin Hogg's decision was. Against all professional advice and with clear knowledge of Butler's violent and aggressive character.

I sincerely hope there is a public review of Hogg's decisions, and maybe not for just this case either. All imo.

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Re: 23 years for Ben Butler

Post  Andrew on Tue 21 Jun 2016, 6:12 pm

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3600545/Family-court-judge-returned-Ellie-killer-father-despite-knowing-dishonest-violent.html

Snipped:

In an extraordinary judgement in 2012, family judge Mrs Justice Hogg then accepted the couple's version of events and went even further than appeal judges by declaring Butler 'exonerated'.



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Re: 23 years for Ben Butler

Post  Freedom on Tue 21 Jun 2016, 6:22 pm

I wonder if Mrs Hogg will make a public statement about the case.
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Re: 23 years for Ben Butler

Post  Châtelaine on Tue 21 Jun 2016, 6:31 pm

My [uneducated] guess is she won't, Freedom.
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Re: 23 years for Ben Butler

Post  Andrew on Tue 21 Jun 2016, 6:49 pm

I very much doubt you will see or hear anything from Mrs Hogg ever again.
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Re: 23 years for Ben Butler

Post  Andrew on Tue 21 Jun 2016, 9:37 pm

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Re: 23 years for Ben Butler

Post  chirpyinsect on Tue 21 Jun 2016, 9:58 pm

She was awarded Judge of the week by this publication in Oct 2012.

In a recent case, which has since been made public and appears to publish the names not only of the parents, but the children involved, there are some extraordinary skills to be appreciated and welcomed.

Family law often finds itself at the cutting edge of medicine and medical conditions, due to the fact that there is still so much we don’t know and we can’t deduce, that only the greatest care and the finest consideration will do and we feel this case and the judge who dealt with it, delivered just that.

Mrs Justice Hogg found herself having to pour over detailed medical evidence and testimony in a case which saw a mother and father lose their child to the local authority over what was believed to be non accidental injuries. However, this was later disproved and happily for the parents and their daughter, they were reunited, but not before facing the threat of losing their newborn who came into the world during the proceedings concerning their first daughter.

It’s not everyday you see such meticulous care in the family court system, nor is it usual to come across such courage and clear headed thinking, but for all those attributes, we would like to award Mrs Justice Hogg our Judge of the Week.

And as always, the parents and children are the unsung heroes in a system which has not yet found a way to treat our families with the compassion they deserve.

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Re: 23 years for Ben Butler

Post  Andrew on Tue 21 Jun 2016, 10:42 pm

I didn't know that he (Butler) hired Max Clifford to do his PR stuff...

Just saw it on ITV news then.
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Re: 23 years for Ben Butler

Post  Mimi on Tue 21 Jun 2016, 11:25 pm

Andrew wrote:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3600545/Family-court-judge-returned-Ellie-killer-father-despite-knowing-dishonest-violent.html

Snipped:

In an extraordinary judgement in 2012, family judge Mrs Justice Hogg then accepted the couple's version of events and went even further than appeal judges by declaring Butler 'exonerated'.




It was weird that she accepted the McCanns version of events, that MBM was abducted, without hesitation during the Ward of Court Proceedings.

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Re: 23 years for Ben Butler

Post  candyfloss on Wed 22 Jun 2016, 9:45 am


Ellie Butler judge 'took unwarranted steps' to reunite her with violent parents





Mrs Justice Hogg criticised by case review for ‘extraordinary’ decision to return child 11 months before father beat her to death

A senior judge in the family court took “unwarranted” extra steps in reuniting a man with a violent and criminal past with his young daughter 11 months before he beat her to death, the author of a serious case review has said.

Mrs Justice Hogg, who retired just weeks before Ben Butler’s murder trial began at the Old Bailey, has been heavily criticised in the official review of events in the run-up to six-year-old Ellie Butler’s death in 2013.



Ellie Butler’s grandfather: ‘She told us that she loved us. That was the last time we saw her’

Her father was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday, and his partner Jennie Gray was given 42 months for child cruelty and for her part in a “cynical” and “calculated” coverup of their daughter’s death and their fake 999 call two hours after she had died.

Marion Davis, a former president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, said: “I think the crux of the matter rests with Mrs Justice Hogg. The extra steps she took were unwarranted.”

She singled out for criticism both the judiciary and the two private social workers at Services For Children (S4C) Hogg appointed in place of social workers from the London borough of Sutton who had fought Butler’s campaign to get custody of his daughter.

The serious case review investigating what went wrong in the period before Ellie’s murder does not condemn the social workers at Sutton council, who consistently opposed her being returned either to her parents or the school and health professionals involved with her care.

Significant criticism is directed at Hogg, however, whose decision to send Ellie back to her parents was described by Davis as extraordinary.

She said serious questions had to be asked about Hogg’s decision.

Ellie had been removed from Butler and Gray’s care at seven weeks old after Butler was arrested and later charged and convicted of assaulting her.

His conviction was overturned in the court of appeal in 2010 and he launched a two-year campaign against the courts, Sutton council and Ellie’s grandparents to win the child and her younger sibling back.

“She [Hogg] gave permission for a letter exonerating Ben Butler of causing any harm to Ellie to be circulated to all agencies and said he was victim of a miscarriage of justice,” said Davis.

“This is the most extraordinary element of the whole case. To say it’s surprising is an understatement, it’s an extraordinary step to take. Once that court judgment from Mrs Justice Hogg was in place there was virtually nothing that could be done to affect the outcome for Ellie.”

Hogg’s decision to exonerate Butler and rule that the head injuries Ellie suffered when she was seven weeks old were accidental went further than the court of appeal, the serious case review found.


The court of appeal had quashed Butler’s original conviction but not made any ruling on what had happened, merely concluding the conviction was unsound because of new scientific research which challenged the medical consensus on shaken baby syndrome.

Davis said: “The judge’s order gave all the power to the parents. Ellie’s murder is a tragedy of the highest order for the grandfather,” referring to Neal Gray who, along with his now deceased wife Linda, had looked after Ellie since she was 10 weeks old.

Davis said they found Ellie had thrived with her grandparents and that it was surprising S4C hadn’t given more attention to her attachment to them before rushing the girl back to her parents, who had severely restricted contact with her under court orders.

“We have a number of concerns about Ellie’s voice not being heard. S4C had a conversation with Jennie and determined that it was safe for Ellie to return to her parents even though the parents hadn’t got things like a bed ready.

“But S4C went ahead with the placement the following week anyway, even though there should have been a pause for reflection.

“The voice and the needs of the child should always be present and must always be heard. Ellie’s voice and needs should be heard above the needs of the parents. It wasn’t heard enough in the family court or by S4C,” she said.


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Hogg and the judiciary declined to participate in the serious case review beyond providing the court orders.

S4C did not submit an independent review of their own role in Ellie’s care.

Davis said it was hard to learn from what went wrong if the judiciary was not prepared to cooperate with the serious case review.

Davis and Christine Davies, the independent chair of the Sutton Safeguarding Board, expressed concern at how Sutton social services were pushed aside and about the failure of both the family court and the independent social workers from S4C to listen to Ellie’s voice.

Both authors condemned the judiciary for not participating.


Davies said: “If the judiciary is not significantly open and cannot learn from its own actions, questions have to be raised. The safeguarding board will be making contact with the president of the family court and the Family Justice Council. The issue about whether the judiciary should be as accountable as other agencies needs to be addressed.”

She said questions also needed to be asked about independent social workers in general, and whether they were sufficiently capable.

They also “should be subject to inspection and regulation like other social workers. At the moment they are not. The lines of accountability must be clear, this case raises a lot of issues”, she said.

Services for Children said in a statement it comprised “of two experienced social workers” and was appointed by the court to “facilitate the rehabilitation” of Ellie with her parents.

“Our work was governed by letters of instruction approved by all parties and sanctioned by the court. We were not acting in any other capacity.”


They said they have “often thought of the impact of Ellie’s death on members of the family” and recognised “the sorrow they must have experienced in the time that has elapsed”.


Services for Children added: “S4C had great respect for the care Ellie’s grandparents gave to her while she was in their care. It was evident that they were devoted to her. We were mindful of their strong bond and encouraged Ellie’s parents and grandparents to try to work together to maintain contact.”

“The SCR [serious case review] refers to the balancing act that S4C undertook between enabling Ellie to develop a relationship with her parents and sibling and maintain her relationship with her grandparents and the difficulties encountered in this due to the fractured adult relationships.”


https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jun/22/ellie-butler-judge-took-unwarranted-steps-to-reunite-her-with-violent-parents

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Re: 23 years for Ben Butler

Post  Andrew on Wed 22 Jun 2016, 10:24 am

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3653858/Judge-sent-Ellie-Butler-father-killed-REFUSES-apologise-saying-merely-s-not-personal.html

Snipped:

The family court judge who was told she'd 'have blood on her hands' when she returned Ellie Butler to her murderous father has failed to apologise, simply saying: 'It's not personal'.
Dame Mary Hogg dismissed evidence of domestic abuse, glossed over convictions for violence and ignored social services' pleas to allow Ben Butler and Jennie Gray to regain custody of their little girl.



But asked whether she felt responsible for the little girl's death, Dame Mary - herself a mother - refused to say sorry. She merely replied: 'It's not personal.'
The 68-year-old then drove away without giving any more comment, according to the Daily Mirror.




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Re: 23 years for Ben Butler

Post  Freedom on Wed 22 Jun 2016, 10:32 am

"Not personal......."???

I don't know how she can live with herself!
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Re: 23 years for Ben Butler

Post  Andrew on Wed 22 Jun 2016, 10:42 am

She's an absolute disgrace in my opinion.

There needs to be a public inquiry into it all and Hogg needs to be held accountable. Then punished.

The poor little girl would still be alive if it wasn't for Hoggs intervention and complete cock-up. Ok, others were involved too but the overall responsibility falls onto the Hogg.

She has failed big time. Just like she did with all the McCann ward of court guff.

She is either incredibly thick. Naive or just doesn't give a toss either way.

Shocking and appalling.



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Re: 23 years for Ben Butler

Post  Andrew on Wed 22 Jun 2016, 12:55 pm

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Re: 23 years for Ben Butler

Post  Freedom on Wed 22 Jun 2016, 1:15 pm

Good on Ellie's grandparents for disowning their daughter.

Blood can never be thicker than water in my opinion when crimes like this have been committed.
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