Murdered Ellie Butler’s grandad demands apology from judge who sent six-year-old back to live with dad who beat her to death

THE grandfather of murdered Ellie Butler has today demanded an apology from the judge who sent her back to live with her father – who ended up killing her.

Neal Gray – Ellie’s maternal grandfather – also wants an inquiry into the decision-making that led to his six-year-old granddaughter being beaten to death by Ben Butler in Sutton, south London, in 2013.

Ellie Butler grandad demands apology
Ellie Butler’s grandfather Neal Gray is demanding an apology from the judge who sent her to live with dad Ben Butler, who beat her to death in 2013
ITV/Ruckas Pictures

Ellie had been in the care of her grandparents as a baby after father Ben was accused of shaking her.

But then judge Mrs Justice Hogg ordered that Ellie be returned to her parents – Ben Butler and Jennie Gray – in 2012.

In a new TV documentary about Ellie’s case, Neal reads from a letter addressed to Mrs Justice Hogg calling on her to support an inquiry and apologise for her decision.

He says: “Dear Justice Hogg – to say that Ellie’s death has caused complete and utter devastation to us is an understatement.

Ellie Butler: Case Timeline

Ellie Butler was born in December 2006.

In February 2007, she was rushed to hospital with brain injuries – her dad Ben Butler was accused of shaking her.

In July 2007, a care order put Ellie in her grandparents’ care.

Ben Butler was then convicted for causing grievous bodily harm in 2009 and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

But then in June 2010 the conviction was quahsed.

This led to Mrs Justice Hogg making a court order in October 2012 to return to Ellie to her parents’ care.

A year later, Ellie was found dead with ‘catastrophic’ injuries in October 2013.

In June 2016, Ben Butler was found guilty of her murder and mum Jennie Gray was convicted of perverting the course of justice.

Ellie Butler
Six-year-old Ellie Butler was murdered by her father Ben Butler in 2013
Ben Butler
Ben Butler was convicted of killing Ellie in 2016 and sentenced to a minimum sentence of 23 years

“Ellie was our shining light. She was a beautiful, bubbly, intelligent little girl who always had a smile on her face.

“It would be helpful if you could acknowledge our family pain and anguish.

“Support the need for an inquiry and just simply say sorry.”

The heartfelt plea will be included in an episode of Britain’s Darkest Taboos to be broadcast on Crime + Investigation at 9pm next Monday.

Neal has previously said that he was disappointed that social services and other agencies involved in Ellie’s care have not faced more criticism.

He’d even gone as far as to say that they had “blood on their hands”.

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