Ellie Butler's mum: 'I still love the man accused of killing my daughter'

The mother of Ellie Butler has said she still loves the man accused of killing her daughter despite him calling her a "disgusting fat dog b***ch" in a text rant.

Jennie Gray, 36, told jurors she stands by Ben Butler, her partner and father of daughter Ellie, and has visited him in prison 190 times since he was charged with her murder.

The couple have admitted delaying calling 999 over fears that Butler would be blamed for harming Ellie as he had in 2007 when she was a baby.

Giving evidence at the Old Bailey, Gray said she was "absolutely committed" to the man she has referred to as her husband.

Ben Butler is accused of murdering his daughter Ellie in 2013. Credit: Rex

The graphic designer was at work in the City of London when Butler allegedly battered the six-year-old to death in October 2013.

She denied that Butler had been violent towards her and her daughter and dismissed angry texts from him in 2013 as "just verbal".

And the bump on her head afterwards was caused by slipping on steps and not Butler's violence, she told jurors.

Prosecutor Ben FitzGerald read out a series of text messages from 2013 in which Butler blamed Ellie for Gray's "mental" behaviour and said: "I hate you both".

In one, he wrote: "You never listen. Your mouth. The way you react and come across a lot like Ellie. You will end up hurt."

Another foul-mouthed text read out in court, said: "Keep going on about dead babies you mental c***... You ain't dying so f*** off... You were warned... f****** rot you childless baron (sic) hopefully for future kids c***... I don't love you at all just hate now you'll see... And you know it. F*** off you fat disgusting dog b**ch c***."

Referring to the text, Gray said: "That's disgusting and I still haven't forgiven him for things he said.

"I haven't forgotten it. I'm not even sure if Ben was out of jail we could be in a relationship again because of what he said to me."

Ellie Butler died at her home in Sutton from severe fractures to the skull. Credit: PA

The trial has heard that Butler, 36, of Sutton, south London, was convicted of shaking Ellie in 2007 but cleared on appeal.

The couple won their custody battle to get Ellie returned to the family 11 months before her death.

Gray has pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice by lying to police and covering up the circumstances of her daughter's death.

But she denies child cruelty over the failure to get treatment for Ellie's broken shoulder, and Butler denies murder and child cruelty.