Mother of girls killed by father in mental health appeal

A mother whose two daughters were killed by their father is campaigning to have spouses involved in the treatment of mentally ill people in the hope of preventing a repeat of the horror which befell her family.

In Nov 2010, John Butler killed his daughters, Ella, 2, and Zoe, 6, at the family home in Ballycotton, Co Cork. A short time later he died after dousing his car in petrol and driving it into a ditch.

The children’s mother, Una Butler, has made a submission to an expert group reviewing the Mental Health Act 2001 in an effort to have partners and spouses involved in the treatment of the mentally ill.

“If I can save just one life by trying to get the Mental Health Act 2001 amended to involve spouses/partners in the treatment and mandatory assessment to a household, if children are living under the same roof, then that can only be a good thing,” she said.

“I’m doing this for Zoe and Ella because I believe that this awful tragedy could have been prevented had I been involved in my husband’s treatment.”

She said the only reason her daughters are dead is because John suffered with his mental health.

“That’s the bottom line. He never harmed them and he never physically harmed me. I never for one moment thought that Ella or Zoe were at risk from their father.”

Since 2000, 38 children between 14-weeks-old and 16-years-old have been killed by parents in this country. The killings were committed by 15 fathers and 12 mothers.

“As we continue to sweep these tragic acts away into a corner, they continue to occur in this country at a rate of about two a year.”

Ms Butler said more research was needed to prevent tragedies and it’s a “disgrace” it isn’t happening.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

More in this Section

Statutory inquiry into garda smear allegations

Anthony Joshua inspiration for Katie Taylor

Judgment reserved as Denis O’Brien action concludes

Farmer put off road after getting time to find a woman


Breaking Stories

'Murder is murder,' says Michael Noonan as he raises pressure on Gerry Adams over Brian Stack

Gardaí confirm remains found in Galway are those of missing Limerick woman

Paudie McGahon claims Gerry Adams is lying about Brian Stack murder

Dara Murphy: Sinn Féin efforts to 'deflect' Brian Stack allegations are 'very sinister'

Lifestyle

Fair City: Behind the scenes at Carrigstown

Ask Audrey has been sorting out Cork people for years

Well-known Irish people share their favourite books from their childhoods

Watch Michelle Darmody make the perfect Christmas cocktail

More From The Irish Examiner