A father accused of murdering his six-year-old daughter was arrested twice for attacking a former girlfriend, a court heard today (Tuesday).
Ben Butler, 36, is on trial for battering his daughter Ellie to death in October 2013 at their family home in Sutton, south London.
The prosecution allege Butler has an explosive temper and outlined previous convictions and including his previous arrest for injuring Ellie and for attacking his former girlfriend Hannah Hillman.
The Old Bailey heard today how Ellie was taken to hospital in 2007, aged seven-weeks-old, for serious head injuries.
Butler was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm to Ellie, after the prosecution argued he had caused those injuries by shaking her.
But his conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal in June 2010, on the grounds Ellie had made a complete recovery from her head injury, it was said.
Ben Fitzgerald, prosecuting, said: “No court has determined how and in what circumstances the 2007 injuries were caused.”
Ellie was returned to live with Butler and his partner Jennie Gray in November 2012 – 11 months before her death.
Butler was not in the dock today, as he was feeling unwell, his defence team said.
The jury heard how Butler had previous convictions for assault, including two against an ex-girlfriend, Hannah Hillman, in 2005.
After leaving a nightclub in Croydon, south London in August 2005, Butler pushed Ms Hillman to the ground in a car park.
She fell on her back, cutting her back and right arm, and Butler sat on top of her and held her down, it was said.
Police arrived at the scene and found him “straddling” her. He was arrested and later pleaded guilty to one count of common assault.
Three months later, Butler attacked Ms Hillman in Morden town centre, south London.
Mr Fitzgerald said: “Ms Hillman had facial injuries. She said he had punched her in the fact and kicked her.
“He was arrested and interviewed. He admitted the offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.”
Butler also attacked a stranger in Kingston-upon-Thames town centre after leaving a nightclub in April 2004, the court heard.
He punched the man in the face, and later pleaded guilty to one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and one count of using threatening words or behaviour.
Butler also attacked a man in a kebab shop in Wimbledon in June 2010, after claiming he had touched up his girlfriend and co-defendant, Jennie Gray.
Mr Fitzgerald said: “He said somebody had touched up his girlfriend.”
Butler later pleaded guilty to battery.
The court heard how Gray, who is accused of child cruelty, told police she was “not afraid” of Butler – despite abusive text messages.
In a police interview in January 2014 Gray gave a statement which said: “I have not suffered violence from Ben Butler and am certainly not afraid of him.
“The comments made by Ben in text messages, although not nice or a nice use of language, is at times how he articulates himself.
“People that know Ben would also know this. In my opinion he does not mean what he says.”
Gray, who has previously admitted perverting the course of justice, denies one count of child cruelty.
Butler denies murder and child cruelty charges.
The trial continues.
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