A six-year-old girl’s “catastrophic” head injuries could not have been caused by an accidental fall, as claimed by her father, a court heard.
Paramedics found Ellie Butler lying beside a low child’s stool at her home in Sutton, south-west London.
Her father Ben Butler claims she fell, but the prosecution said her injuries were caused by being thrown against a wall or hit with a “blunt weapon”.
The 36-year-old denies murder and a separate charge of child cruelty.
At the Old Bailey, prosecutor Ed Brown QC said a post-mortem examination revealed the child suffered skull fractures from at least two severe impacts.
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He said the doctor who carried out the examination and a neurological pathologist agreed her injuries were unlikely to have been caused by an accidental fall, from the chair found next to Ellie and close to the wardrobe, for example.
Mr Brown said a third expert, a forensic pathologist, believed Ellie’s major head injury was “the result of one or more very forceful blunt impacts, arising through being thrown against a wall or the ground, or struck with a heavy blunt weapon”.
“A domestic accident could not have given rise to these complex, catastrophic, and rapidly fatal injuries,” Mr Brown added.
The court has heard how Ellie’s parents, Mr Butler and Jennie Gray, summoned an ambulance two hours after her injuries were believed to have been caused.
Mr Butler and Ms Gray, also 36, deny child cruelty over an untreated broken shoulder Ellie suffered weeks before her death.
Ms Gray has admitted perverting the course of justice.
Mr Brown told jurors it was a “distressing case” of a father accused of murdering his daughter and failing to seek medical help for her earlier injury.
Ms Gray had been “determined and persistent” in trying to protect him by hiding and destroying evidence, he said.
Jurors have previously been told that Mr Butler has had a conviction for assaulting Ellie as a baby quashed. Her parents then won a High Court ruling to return her to the family from foster care.
The trial continues.
Source:: BBC world news feed