Ellie Butler, six, suffered skull fractures twice in short life, court told

Ellie Butler, six, suffered skull fractures twice in short life, court told

Six-year-old Ellie Butler suffered skull fractures twice in her tragically short life - the first possibly dating back to when her father was accused of assaulting her as a baby, a court has heard.

The child was allegedly battered to death by Ben Butler in October 2013, just 11 months after he won a legal battle to get her back after she was taken into care.

The Old Bailey trial has heard how Butler, 36, was convicted of hurting Ellie in 2007 when she was six weeks old but was later cleared on appeal.

On the day of her death, jobless Butler was alone with Ellie and another child while her mother Jennie Gray, 36, was at work as a graphic designer in the City of London.

In a 999 call to emergency services, he claimed "my little girl has fallen down" but the prosecution say he inflicted catastrophic head injuries by throwing her against a wall or by hitting her with a heavy object.

Bone pathology expert Professor Anthony Freemont, of the University of Manchester, gave evidence for the prosecution.

He told jurors there were four distinct periods of injuries, including "at least two or three instances of significant skull trauma".

A healed skull fracture could have dated back to the first allegation of assault by Butler in 2007, he said.

Three to five weeks before her death, Ellie suffered a broken shoulder bone.

Then she sustained "bruising" to the skull, two to three weeks before the fatal injury, the court heard.

Prof Freemont said the fresh skull fracture itself would have happened between one and six hours before she died.

Butler, of Sutton, south west London, denies Ellie's murder as well as child cruelty over the untreated shoulder injury.

Ellie's mother also denies child cruelty but has admitted perverting the course of justice by allegedly attempting to cover up for Butler by destroying evidence and lying to police about what happened.

Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Michael Uglow told the court that Ellie would have been in "acute pain" for 10 days after her shoulder was broken.

He said: "A child of six, they cannot hide their pain. They will cry. They will verbalise they are in pain and they will not move because of it."

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