BEYOND EVIL OH AND LIKE HAMPSTEAD THE COURTS GOT IT WRONG…AGAIN

How did I have a daughter so evil she let her partner kill my
grandchild?’ Grandfather of Ellie Butler who was murdered by her violent
father rages at all of those who betrayed her

  • Ben Butler beat Ellie to death in fit of rage at their home in south London
  • Little girl was found dead in her bedroom with catastrophic head injuries 
  • Her death came eleven months after she was returned to her father’s care
  • Ellie’s grandfather Neal has spoken of his heartache in his first interview
In
his first newspaper interview, the grandfather of murdered Ellie Butler
rages at why his granddaughter was placed back into the care of her
parents. 
Her father Ben Butler, 36, was jailed for 23 years for murdering Ellie, 6, in a brutal fit of rage at the family home in Sutton, south London, in October 2013. 
Meanwhile
her mother, Jennie Gray, 36, was convicted of child cruelty, having
already admitted perverting the course of justice, and was jailed for
three and a half years. 
 
Now,
Ellie’s grandfather Neal Gray is fighting to get an inquest into her
death reopened and force Sutton Council and the courts to answer why
they allowed the six-year-old to be returned to her abusive father. 
 A
week ago last Thursday, Neal Gray picked up a photograph of his late
wife, Linda, from the sitting room mantelpiece, as he’s done every
morning since her death four months ago.He told her: ‘I’m going to see
Miss Lynch today. She’s a nice lady. I think she’s going to make things
right. You look after Ellie and tell her we haven’t stopped fighting for
her. I miss you both very much.’
Then
Neal, 71, put on his jacket, collected his walking stick and left his
home in Wallington, Surrey, for a hearing at Croydon Coroner’s Court. 
Neal Gray cuddles his beloved 14-month old granddaughter Ellie with his wife Linda in 2007

Neal Gray cuddles his beloved 14-month old granddaughter Ellie with his wife Linda in 2007
Miss
Lynch, the South-East London Coroner, listened to an hour of
submissions from a barrister and two solicitors, each of whom is working
pro bono to see justice finally done for Neal’s granddaughter, Ellie.
It
is up to Miss Lynch to decide whether to reopen the inquest into Ellie
Butler’s death and thus force the local authority and courts — along
with a private team of social workers appointed to the case by Mrs
Justice Hogg — to answer for their actions. Or rather, their abject lack
of action.
Six-year-old
Ellie was battered to death in October 2013 in one of the most
atrocious cases of domestic violence doctors had ever seen. 
Two
months ago, her father Ben, 36, was jailed for 23 years for murdering
Ellie in a brutal fit of rage. Her mother Jennie Gray — Neal’s youngest
child — was convicted of child cruelty, having admitted perverting the
course of justice.
She was sentenced to three-and-a-half years.
But for Neal and his beloved Ellie, justice has not been done.
Time
and again, Neal and his wife, Linda, warned that Butler — who was
jailed for causing a six-week-old Ellie grievous bodily harm, but
cleared on appeal — was an evil, abusive man.
In
a further, hideous twist, while the elderly couple spent their life
savings of £79,000 trying to retain custody of the granddaughter they
had raised since she was five months old, last week the Mail revealed
that Butler was handed a staggering £2 million of legal aid to fund a
Rolls-Royce team of lawyers and barristers to defend his already tainted
name. The discovery, says Neal, was ‘unbelievable’.
Ellie with her parents Ben Butler and Jennie Gray before she was murdered by her father
Ellie with her parents Ben Butler and Jennie Gray before she was murdered by her father
‘We
were willing to do anything to get her back,’ he says. ‘We fought tooth
and nail. But it wasn’t an even playing field — we ran out of money and
ended up not being represented. It makes me very angry.’
Emotions
in the Gray household have been running high since November 9, 2012,
when they were forced to say a tearful goodbye to their precious Ellie
following an order from Mrs Justice Hogg to restore the child to her
abusive parents.
Brushing
aside Butler’s criminal record — which included acts of violence — Mrs
Justice Hogg astonishingly concluded: ‘It is seldom I see a “happy
ending” in public law proceedings. It is a joy for me to oversee the
return of a child to her parents.’
Within a year of returning to her parents, Ellie was dead.
‘We saw her four times after she was taken from us,’ says Neal. ‘The second time, in May, we were allowed to meet her at a pub.
‘She
tried to give us hugs, but the mother [such is Neal’s loathing for his
daughter, Jennie, that he cannot bring himself to call her by name] was
watching us all the time.
‘Ellie was unrecognisable. She had bruises here and here.’ He points to his eye and cheek.
Butler and his partner Gray concocted a series of lies about Ellie's death and stuck to them during the trial

Butler and his partner Gray concocted a series of lies about Ellie's death and stuck to them during the trial

Butler and his partner Gray concocted a series of lies about Ellie’s death and stuck to them during their trial
The judge said  Gray had participated in a 'grotesque charade' of a 999 call when she knew Ellie was dead

The judge said Gray had participated in a ‘grotesque charade’ of a 999 call when she knew Ellie was dead
‘She’d
lost weight and her hair was falling out. She looked bedraggled. She
just wanted to cuddle us. We told her we loved her and she said to my
wife: “Can I come home, Nanna?” The mother got angry. 
‘She
said: “That’s it. We’ve got to go now.” I said to the father: “How come
she’s got all these bruises?” He started shouting and swearing,
threatening to take me outside and give me a good hiding.
‘We
drove home, worried sick about her. I phoned the private social
services and emailed them repeatedly, but they blanked us. When I called
the local authority, they said it was out of their hands.’
Neal’s
eyes are haunted. ‘Why wasn’t anyone keeping an eye out for her? When
Butler was tried for shaken baby [Butler’s 2008 hearing for GBH], a top
forensic psychiatrist assessed the parents. 
He said: “These two people should never have been left unsupervised with a baby. They’re unstable.”
‘We
mentioned this to Mrs Justice Hogg, but she said: “That’s all in the
past. It means nothing.” Butler completely hoodwinked her.
‘Evil, that’s what he is. Pure evil. And as for the mother . . .’
The sentence ends in another weary shake of the head.
Butler, pictured with Ellie and the family's dog, Millie. He tried to claim her injuries may have been caused when she fell on the stairs while chasing the pet

Butler, pictured
with Ellie and the family’s dog, Millie. He tried to claim her injuries
may have been caused when she fell on the stairs while chasing the pet
Today,
Neal says he no longer has a younger daughter. Jennie, 36, is as good
as dead to him. As she was to her mother Linda, too.
The
last wish of Linda Gray, who died on April 19 on the opening day of the
trial, was that the youngest of her three children should not know she
was dying of cancer.
Nor
was Jennie welcome at her funeral. Linda was cremated the following
week and her ashes were scattered in nearby Beddington Park where, two
years earlier, they had sprinkled Ellie’s ashes.
‘Ellie
loved going there with her dog, Jess,’ says Neal. ‘She liked to go
round the lake on her scooter and, when she got a bit older, her bike. I
knew Lin wanted to be scattered with her. She loved that little girl to
bits. We both did.
‘Lin
was diagnosed with cancer of the gall bladder, which went to her liver,
two months after we’d lost Ellie. To this day, I believe that if she
hadn’t been through all that stress and strain, she’d still be alive.
‘We were married for 45 years and I knew her for 51 years. She was the most beautiful, generous person.’
Neal
and Linda also had a son, Jamie, 41, an electrical engineer, and
daughter Julie, 40, an archaeologist. Neal says: ‘They never gave us a
day’s trouble. They went to university and have professional jobs.
‘Lin
and I soul-searched for years. Even in the last days, my wife was
saying: “Where has it gone wrong? Where have we gone wrong? How have we
produced a child who can be so evil as to stand by and see her partner
kill her own child?”
Stay-at-home father Ben Butler has been found guilty of murdering his six-year-old daughter Ellie

Little Ellie suffered catastrophic head injuries during the attack by her father, who looked after her at home

Stay-at-home father Ben Butler was found guilty of murdering six-year-old daughter Ellie
‘I’ve
asked the vicar, the doctor, the lady I had counselling with when Lin
was dying. I said: “Is it me? Is it my wife?” She said: “It’s not you.”
‘They
were all brought up the same, all given the same. We were as proud as
punch of them. But somewhere, Jennie took the wrong road and mixed with
the wrong crowd.’
Jennie was 26 when she met Butler, a former car salesman with a lengthy criminal record, at a nightclub in Sutton, Surrey.
Divorced
following a disastrous, short-lived marriage, she fell pregnant within
weeks of meeting Butler and decided to keep the baby.
Neal
didn’t meet Butler until Ellie was six weeks old and had been admitted
to hospital with injuries that suggested she may have been violently
shaken. He took a dislike to Butler at first sight.
When
Butler was arrested and Ellie taken into care, Neal and Linda applied
to be her temporary foster parents and were awarded special guardianship
in August 2008.
They
doted on their granddaughter. Neal has hundreds of photographs that
chart those precious years: a carefree, smiling Ellie proudly showing
off the carrots she had grown in her grandparents’ garden or the cakes
she baked with Linda.
He wipes his eyes: ‘She was such a loving, beautiful girl.’
Butler
was convicted of causing Ellie grievous bodily harm in March 2009 and
sentenced to 18 months in prison. Ellie had suffered a brain injury,
bleeding on the brain and bleeding in the eyes.
Forensics officers outside the Butler's flat in Sutton, south London after the murder in 2013

Forensics officers outside the Butler’s flat in Sutton, south London after the murder in 2013
Ellie, pictured at a local play park, was returned to her father's care despite concerns about his behaviour

Ellie, pictured at a local play park, was returned to her father’s care despite concerns about his behaviour
But,
after seven months, Butler was released on bail pending a review of the
evidence. The following June, he walked free from the Court of Appeal
after three judges ruled his conviction was unsafe.
However,
social workers for the local authority still considered Butler and
Jennie unfit to care for Ellie and encouraged her grandparents to apply
for adoption.
Revelling in his status as a wronged father unjustly treated by a corrupt system, Butler went to war with the local authority.
In May 2011, the High Court granted the parents application for a ‘re-hearing of the facts’.
‘That’s
when the worst part of our lives, other than losing Ellie, began,’ says
Neal. ‘Justice Hogg came on the scene, then a new guardian ad litum (in
a lawsuit when a child is involved) for Ellie was appointed called
Carol Vicarage.
‘She
said she didn’t think Lin and I were the sort of people who should have
been special guardians. She said we were too old and hadn’t got
experience with children. She said she thought the parents should have
had the child from day one.’
Worse
was to come in July 2012, when Mrs Justice Hogg removed the local
authority social workers from the case, on the grounds they were
prejudiced against Butler, and appointed a private consultancy called
Services for Children to assess the parents’ suitability to have Ellie
back.
The service, run by Catherine Harris and Stephen Atherton, charges £50 an hour and £75 at weekends, plus mileage charges.
‘We
were scrutinised by these people and kept having to go to court,’ says
Neal, who was funding his legal costs while, unbeknown to him, Butler
was being funded to the tune of £2 million in Legal Aid.
Little Ellie Butler was sent back to live with her parents by family judge Mrs Justice Hogg less than a year before he killed her

In an extraordinary move in 2012, the judge 'exonerated' him of previous violence

Little
Ellie Butler was sent back to live with her parents by family judge Mrs
Justice Hogg (right) less than a year before he killed her
‘We
were accused of not taking Ellie out, but my son and daughter took her
to Alton Towers, Waterworld, Peppa Pig World, Chessington, Legoland —
places where my wife and I, being that much older, couldn’t have given
her the fun that her uncle and aunt could. We went to the New Forest
with her three or four years running, and to Swanage in a caravan. She
loved it there.
‘They
used to come round to monitor us with Ellie. They tried to say we had
to obey what they wanted to do — like taking Ellie to see her parents,
which wasn’t in the court order — otherwise they’d have us for contempt
of court.
‘They’d
go to the school to try to talk to her. They said: “It would be better,
Ellie, if you go back to live with your mummy and daddy.”
‘Ellie
told these people she didn’t want to live with her mummy and daddy. She
wanted to stay with her nana and granddad “for a million, million
years”.’
By
then, Neal and Linda’s savings had run out. They could no longer afford
solicitors and Mrs Justice Hogg would not allow Neal to represent
himself. However, on the final day of the hearing, on October 12, Neal’s
barrister offered to represent him for free.
‘They put me in the witness box and their [Butler and Jennie’s] QC said: “You don’t like your daughter and Mr Butler, do you?”
‘I said: “I hate them both for what they did to my granddaughter when she was a shaken baby.”
Ben Butler and Jennie Gray appeared on ITV's This Morning after his conviction for assaulting his then-baby daughter Ellie was overturned by the Court of Appeal

Ben Butler and Jennie Gray appeared on
ITV’s This Morning after his conviction for assaulting his then-baby
daughter Ellie was overturned by the Court of Appeal
‘Justice
Hogg intervened: “Well, Mr Gray, they’ve been exonerated. It was a
miscarriage of justice. We’re sending Ellie back on November 9. Have you
got anything to say?’
‘I
said: “Yes, Justice Hogg.” I pointed my finger at her, looked her in
the eye and said: “I hope you and all the professionals in this room
have a conscience because one day you may have blood on your hands with
regards to my granddaughter Ellie.” And, of course, it’s come true.’ 
For
three months, the private social workers kept an eye on the Butler
family, but in March 2013 the case was signed off and all support was
removed. In addition was an order from Justice Hogg exonerating Butler
and Jennie of any blame for Ellie’s injuries.
Crucially,
this gave Butler permission to serve a copy of the order on any
children’s department, local education authority or school, NHS trust or
the police. In short, Butler had immunity to act with Ellie as he
wished.
The last time Neal and Linda saw Ellie was with her mother on October 27, 2013.
‘She
was very quiet, withdrawn. Her eyes were sunk in a bit,’ says Neal.
‘She looked as if she’d been dragged through a hedgerow — odd clothes,
odd shoes, odd socks. She had face paint on.

‘I said: “Can I take some photos?” The mother said: “I don’t care any more.” ’
Later,
those photographs were given to the police who, thanks to digital
technology, were able to identify appalling bruises beneath the face
paint. It transpired Ellie also had a broken collarbone.
‘The next day we were writing her a letter saying how nice it was to see her when there was a bang on the door,’ says Neal.
‘A
police lady was standing there. She said: “I’ve got some bad news.”
Linn jumped up. She said: “It’s not Ellie, is it?” The lady said, “Yes,
I’m afraid Ellie’s dead.”
‘Two months later, Lin was diagnosed with cancer.’ Neal takes a deep breath.
‘That’s
why, nine days ago, I went to the coroner’s court. I told Miss Lynch I
want a public inquiry into Justice Hogg’s actions and those of the
private agency social workers.
‘If they’d listened to us, Ellie would be out there now with her friends, playing on her trampoline.’
But, yet again, in an abominable mockery of British justice, Butler is considering an appeal.
Should
his taxpayer-funded lawyers decide to push ahead, the nice Miss Lynch
will not be able to ‘make things right’ for Ellie or her grandparents
any time soon.
As sickening as it seems, the nightmare is far from ov

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