NATIONAL: Inquest due on murdered six-year-old Ellie Butler

Ben Butler and Jennie Gray.
Ben Butler and Jennie Gray.

A retired high court judge is due to give her ruling in the inquest into the death of six-year-old Ellie Butler, who was murdered by her father.

Ben Butler beat six-year-old Ellie to death at their family home in Sutton, south London, in October 2013.

The two-week inquest examined whether there were failures on the part of the authorities with regards to Ellie's murder, including the sharing of information, co-operation and communication between organisations.

It was not examining a family court ruling which returned the schoolgirl to the hands of her abusive father.

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

She was returned to live with her birth parents in November 2012 after a ruling by Mrs Justice Hogg in the Family Division of the High Court.

Butler is serving a life sentence with a minimum term of 23 years after he was convicted of murder by a jury at the Old Bailey in June 2016.

Ellie's mother Jennie Gray was convicted of child cruelty and perverting the course of justice and sentenced to 42 months' imprisonment.

During the inquest Butler, giving evidence via prison video link, denied killing Ellie, saying he did not accept the verdict of the jury at his trial.

He said: "I didn't cause Ellie to die, I didn't cause any injury to Ellie at all."

He was berated by the coroner at one stage after accusing the process of being "corrupt".

Neither he nor Gray had representation after being refused legal aid.

Ellie's grandfather Neal Gray described the day his granddaughter was taken from his care as "heartbreaking" and said social workers "failed in their duty" to her.

Social worker Steven Atherton also gave evidence, saying: "We were part of a system that failed this little girl."

Dame Linda Dobbs, a retired high court judge, is due to announce her determination at South London Coroner's Court on Tuesday.