KILLER dad Ben Butler routinely beat both his children, a horrifying High Court judgement has revealed.
Tragic Ellie Butler, who was battered to death by her dad, endured a campaign of physical and mental abuse at his hands.
Shocking new details include how violent Butler regularly abused Ellie and even flushed her sibling’s head down the toilet.
Ellie’s sibling, named only as C to protect their identity, heartbreakingly referred to the family home as a “bad house” where “dad hits mum and makes her cry”.
Sickeningly, Butler was said to have flushed the second child’s head down the toilet if they wet the bed and even whacked C and Ellie with a belt as their mum, Jenny Gray, watched.
C was even dragged into the twisted couple’s attempt to cover up Ellie’s murder.
The child later told how the siblings were “really bad at mummy and daddy’s and got smacked”.
The revelations had been held back over fears it could prejudice a potential re-trial of Butler.
But three court of appeal judges ruled the judgement can now be reported.
It also included revelations that tragic Ellie was regularly “subjected to serious emotional abuse” including the fact she was “routinely smacked”.
The judgement also details the devastating last meeting between Ellie and her grandfather Neal Gray, who fought to win custody of his granddaughter.
He described how his two grandchildren looked like “they had been dragged through a hedge” during a chance meeting in a McDonald’s the day before Ellie was murdered.
Ellie’s final words to him were to tell him how she missed and loved him.
“Angry” Butler, 36, was jailed last month for the 2013 murder and given a 23-year jail term.
The six-year-old tot’s mum, Jennie Gray, was given a 42-month term after being found guilty of child cruelty – and trying to cover up the appalling crime.
A jury at London’s Old Bailey heard how Ellie suffered catastrophic head injuries similar to those caused by a high-speed car crash.
In reality, Butler beat Ellie over the head with a blunt object or by flinging her against a hard surface.
Jobless Butler pretended Ellie had been injured accidentally as she jumped up and down on her bed to her favourite cartoon Peppa Pig at their family home in Sutton.
But experts testified they had never seen such injuries from a small distance fall – casting doubt on Butler’s claims.
After she was left lifeless, he called for an ambulance – but had actually battered the girl to death two hours before.
Butler and Gray had actually spent the time destroying evidence and preparing their story.
He always maintained his innocence, even claiming he had never been in trouble with the law before – despite a string of convictions for violent offences.
He had also served a three-year prison sentence for attempted robbery and intimidation of witnesses.
Remarkably, the murder occurred less than a year after Ellie had been returned to the couple from care – after being taken away due to child cruelty concerns.
It came after he launched a media campaign to win back his daughter, claiming he was the victim of a “miscarriage of justice”.
Ellie was taken from Butler and Gray due to child cruelty suspicions, before being returned to their care after they appeared on ITV (pictured) pleading for her return. She was killed less than a year later
In reality he was a violent thug and once back in his care, Ellie suffered a series of injuries including a broken shoulder that was left untreated for a month before she died at her father’s hands in late October 2013.
Jailing Butler, Mr Justice Wilkie told him he “may never be released”.
He said: “You are a self-absorbed, ill-tempered, violent and domineering man who, I am satisfied, regarded your children and your partner as trophies, having no role other than to fit in with your infantile and sentimentalised fantasy of family life with you as the patriarch whose every whim was to be responded to appropriately.
“You murdered her in a brutal assault prompted by your evil temper. I am satisfied that from, at the latest, late summer 2013, you subjected Ellie to a series of physical attacks, when she was in your sole care, in which she sustained injuries for none of which you sought medical attention.”
In the wake of his conviction, others came forward to reveal Butler’s long history of violence.
His ex-girlfriend Hannah Hillman said his eyes would “turn black” during rages in which he strangled and beat her during their 18 months together.
Another person claimed Butler showed “psychopathic tendencies” as a youngster and had pulled the leg off his Yorkshire Terrier.
Finally today a judicial head said a High Court judge was wrong to bar publication of a behind-closed-doors ruling relating to Ellie’s murder.
Lord Dyson, the Master of the Rolls and the second most senior judge in England and Wales, said on Mrs Justice Pauffley had “reached the wrong conclusion” when deciding that the ruling should stay under wraps.
It was made following a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in the summer of 2014 – after Ellie had died but before Butler was convicted of her murder.
She rejected an application to release the details of the ruling in case it prejudiced a possible retrial launched by Butler.
She also forecast that the ruling would make “front-page news” if published.
But this decision was quashed by her colleagues, who said lawyers should check to ensure any material which identified Ellie’s younger sibling was taken out of the ruling before it was made public.
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