Inquest to open into death of schoolgirl Ellie Butler

The inquest into the death of schoolgirl Ellie Butler is to open on Monday, four and a half years after her father battered her to death at the family home.

The six-year-old’s father Ben Butler was convicted of her murder in June 2016 after a trial at the Old Bailey and jailed for life with a minimum term of 23 years.

Ellie’s mother, Jennie Gray, was given a 42-month term after being found guilty of child cruelty. She had admitted perverting the course of justice.

Gray later applied to the Court of Appeal for permission to bring challenges in relation to both child cruelty and perverting the course of justice, but the application failed.

Ellie had been placed in the care of her grandparents after Butler was accused of shaking her when she was a baby.

But she was returned to the care of Butler, and her mother, after a ruling by Mrs Justice Hogg in 2012 in the Family Division of the High Court.

The Old Bailey trial heard that in October 2013 Butler battered his daughter to death at the family home in Sutton, south London, in a momentary but volcanic loss of temper after months of subjecting his partner and daughter to abuse.

The couple angrily protested their innocence when jurors returned guilty verdicts.

Gray told them they had made a “big mistake”, while Butler shouted that he would “fight forever” in the appeal courts.

The inquest, to be held at South London Coroner’s Court in Croydon, will last about two weeks.

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