'It's my daughter, she's not breathing' - Harrowing 999 call played in trial of father accused of battering daughter (6) in fit of rage
Published 22/04/2016 | 14:31
A harrowing 999 call has been played in the trial of a father accused of battering his six-year-old daughter to death in a fit of rage.
Medics found Ellie Butler lying in a bedroom wearing pink pyjamas with Peppa Pig playing on the television and a child's chair upturned nearby. The back of her head had been smashed in leaving a "boggy mass".
Her parents Ben Butler and Jennie Gray, both 36, called 999 two hours after she was fatally hurt while home alone with her father and another child on the afternoon of October 28 2013 , the court has heard.
The prosecution has said a post-mortem examination ruled out an accidental fall and her death was put down to Butler either beating her over the head with a heavy object or throwing her against the floor or wall.
Butler, of Westover Close, Sutton, south-west London, denies Ellie's murder and along with Gray has pleaded not guilty to child cruelty over an earlier shoulder injury.
Graphic designer Gray has admitted perverting the course of justice by hiding or destroying evidence after rushing home from work an hour before the 999 call.
During the 15 minute call to emergency services, Gray told the operator: "It's my daughter, she's not breathing."
Butler comes on the phone and swears at the female operator as he confirms the address to send the ambulance, saying Ellie has "fallen down".
Gray is then instructed to give her daughter CPR with breaths followed by 30 chest compressions.
Much of the call was inaudible with screaming and shouting as the operator repeatedly tells the couple to "calm down".
First responder Sarah Hardy told the court that Ellie was "very cold and blue" when she arrived with no heartbeat.
She said: "I asked mum and dad what had happened. Father replied he had seen something like foam coming out of her mouth and does that mean she might be all right.
"I asked again what had happened to her and I believe her dad said 'I don't know. I thought she was in her bedroom sleeping'.
"I heard someone say her mum had come home from work and had called up to Ellie she had brought cupcakes home. Someone said the (other) child had gone up to get Ellie and then her dad had gone up and found her."
Of Gray's behaviour at the time, she said: "She was crying and saying something along the lines of 'Please come back so we can have cupcakes again together'."
Cross-examining, Bernard Tetlow QC for Gray queried if Ms Hardy had really heard the mother talking about having cupcakes again with Ellie.
But the witness replied: "I remember her saying it because it made me choke a bit. I felt sorry for her."
Neil Fisher arrived at 2.59pm and took over basic life support from Ms Hardy before trying to find out from the mother how Ellie had been hurt.
He said: "She replied she had been at work and she had come home early, brought cakes home, that she had cut the cake in the kitchen and called up to Ellie a few times. She then asked (the other child in the house) to get Ellie.
"Whatever (the child) said to her about Ellie had caused her to go upstairs very quickly to check on Ellie."
Ambulance crew member Penny Robson told jurors of her "devastation" at finding the "boggy mass" while repositioning Ellie's head.
She said: "The whole area was soft. I did not feel any hard area at all."
She went on to describe seeing fluid that "looked like tomato soup" coming from the child's mouth or nose.
The Peppa Pig cartoon was playing on the television where Ellie was found in her pink pyjamas, according to another medic, Mark Westron.
Cross-examining, Butler's lawyer, Icah Peart QC, said: "I'm going to suggest Peppa Pig does a lot of jumping over muddy puddles." The witness agreed.
Earlier, the court had heard evidence from two neighbours.
Just 15 minutes before the emergency call, Elaine Winson said she saw Butler outside the family home with his Jack Russell puppy.
He commented on the weather saying "Isn't it nasty", which she thought was odd.
Ms Winson told jurors: "The fact he made a comment to me I thought was strange because I had never spoken to him before."
Later, she saw little Ellie being brought out on a trolley by paramedics, she said: "The mother was severely distressed and holding on to the trolley.
"The father was behind. He had no expression on his face. There was nothing.
"He was carrying the other child. At the time I thought it was shock over what was happening."
Gray broke down in tears when she later collected the puppy from another neighbour.
Marion Cook said Gray broke down and told her Ellie "fell off her bed and hit her head on a radiator" when she came over to collect the puppy which she had agreed to look after.
The trial was adjourned until Monday.