Friday 19 January 2018

Mother insists she still loves the man accused of killing her daughter even though he called her a 'disgusted fat dog b***h'

Six-year-old Ellie Butler with her mother Jennie Gray. Photo: Family handout/PA Wire
Six-year-old Ellie Butler with her mother Jennie Gray. Photo: Family handout/PA Wire
File photo of Jennie Gray, the mother of tragic Ellie Butle. Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Emily Pennink

Little Ellie Butler's mother has insisted she still loves the man accused of killing her daughter, even though he called her a "disgusted fat dog bitch" during one of his many furious text rants.

Jennie Gray told jurors she stands by Ben Butler and has visited him in prison 190 times since he was charged with Ellie's murder.

The 36-year-old graphic designer was at work in the City of London when Butler allegedly battered the six-year-old to death in October 2013.

The couple have admitted delaying calling 999 over fears that Butler would be blamed for harming Ellie as he had in 2007 when she was a baby.

Giving evidence at the Old Bailey, Gray said she was "absolutely committed" to the man she has referred to as her husband.

She said: "Ben is my family. I do love him. We have been through 2007 together. We have been through a miscarriage of justice together and I was always grateful to Ben because he got me my (baby) back and we have both lost a little girl..."

Turning to the stream of abusive texts Butler sent Gray in 2013, prosecutor Ben FitzGerald said: "You have always maintained that Ben Butler has not been violent.

"You have always been hiding the truth. Because once you have admissions of him being violent, you would destroy any chance of you keeping (Ellie) and maintaining your relationship with him."

Gray said: "Ben was not violent to me and he certainly was not violent to my (daughter) and I maintain that 100%."

She dismissed an angry text exchange over Butler's discovery of her diary in which he told her "you are dead to me" as"just verbal".

And the bump on her head afterwards was caused by slipping on steps and not Butler's violence, she told jurors.

Mr FitzGerald cited one particularly abusive text from Butler in which he told her: "Keep going on about dead babies you mental c*** ... You ain't dying so f*** off.. ... You were warned....f****** rot you childless baron (sic) hopefully for future kids c***....I don't love you at all just hate now you'll see.. And you know it. F*** off you fat disgusting dog bitch c***."

After reading out the text, the lawyer asked Gray: "How did you put up with him?"

The defendant replied: "That's disgusting and I still haven't forgiven him for things he said.

"I haven't forgotten it. I'm not even sure if Ben was out of jail we could be in a relationship again because of what he said to me."

The prosecutor queried: "This is the man who you wanted to raise your (kid)?"

She said: "He was not a nice boyfriend to me but he was a bloody good dad. He was happy to be a stay-at-home husband."

Gray went on to admit she was "out of order" when she wrote a list of 10 points about Ellie's bad behaviour accusing her of lying, being "constantly manipulative" and untrustworthy.

Mr FitzGerald suggested: "Mr Butler saw Ellie's bad behaviour as similar to your erratic behaviour. He thought you were cut from the same cloth."

He read out a series of text messages from 2013 in which Butler blamed Ellie for Gray's "mental" behaviour and said: "I hate you both".

In another, he wrote: "You never listen. Your mouth. The way you react and come across a lot like Ellie. You will end up hurt."

Gray described the suggestion as "bullshit" and "ridiculous".

The trial has heard that Butler, 36, of Sutton, south London, was convicted of shaking Ellie in 2007 but cleared on appeal.

The couple won their custody battle to get Ellie returned to the family 11 months before her death.

Gray has pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice by lying to police and covering up the circumstances of her daughter's death.

But she denies child cruelty over the failure to get treatment for Ellie's broken shoulder, and Butler denies murder and child cruelty.

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News