When Ben Butler walked free from the Court of Appeal in 2010 having had his conviction for harming his baby daughter quashed, he was triumphant.
Three years after little Ellie had almost died from a brain injury while in her father's care, the judiciary had officially absolved him of any blame and he was determined to bask in the moment.
Feeling he was on a roll and keen to exploit a misplaced wave of public sympathy, Butler employed the dubious services of the now disgraced PR guru, Max Clifford, and set about trying to persuade the authorities to hand his daughter back.
Touring TV studios he gave tear jerking interviews about his harrowing time on a prison paedophile wing, and spoke about the spirit crushing agony of being separated from the little girl he adored.
While he may have been cleared of grievous bodily harm on a technicality, the London Borough of Sutton was determined to deny him long term custody of his daughter, fearing she would never be safe in his care.
Tragically it was a fear that was realised in October 2013, when just 11 months after he won an epic custody battle, Butler murdered his daughter, leaving her with injuries experts likened to those one might suffer in a high speed car crash.
Butler has been jailed for a minimum of 23 years over the death, while Ellie's mother Jennie Gray has been jailed for 42 months.
Here we trace how the tragic story unfolded:
March 2006: The Parents Meet
Butler, a former car salesman and removals man with a long criminal record, met Jennie Gray in March 2006 at a nightclub in Sutton, south London, where her brother, Jamie, was celebrating his 31st birthday.
She had recently emerged from a short and unhappy marriage and when Butler offered to help her with her brother, who had drunkenly fallen off a stool, she was smitten.
Within weeks she was pregnant and despite barely knowing one another, the couple agreed to have and keep the baby.
While the situation was far from ideal they seemed determined to make things work and on December 30 2007, Gray gave birth to a baby girl, whom she called Ellie May.
Butler had not been present at what had been a traumatic birth, but he visited his new born daughter in hospital later that morning and appeared to everyone to be the doting father.
Insisting he wanted to play as full a part as possible in his daughter's life, Butler soon arranged to have her stay over at his flat.
However the first time Ellie was left alone with him when she was just six weeks old, she sustained minor burns to her forehead and hand.
Butler insisted it had been a complete accident, claiming Ellie had rolled against a hot radiator, which he had placed near her to keep her warm.
Not only did Gray accept the explanation, but their GP was unconcerned and put the incident down to the inexperience of a new father.
February 2007: Ellie suffers serious injuries
The following week arrangements were once again made for Butler to look after Ellie and after dropping her off at around 6pm, Gray left them to it.
What happened next became the subject of years of intense legal argument that initially saw Butler convicted of grievous bodily harm but subsequently cleared on appeal.
According to him, Ellie had been pale and listless when she arrived at his flat, but it was not until several hours later that he became concerned for her wellbeing.
Eventually he called an ambulance, but concerned at the length of time it was taking, he frantically contacted a friend with a car and took her to St Helier hospital himself.
She was diagnosed with a triad of injuries that suggested she may have been violently shaken.
Butler was arrested on suspicion of GBH and in March 2007 the local authority, the London Borough of Sutton, issued proceedings to have the little girl taken into care.
January 2008: Ellie Is Taken Into Care
In January 2008 a fact finding hearing took place and His Honour Judge Atkins found that Butler had been responsible for the burns, had caused the head injury and that Gray had failed to protect her.
He subsequently ruled out the mother as a long term carer for Ellie and in August that year he made a Special Guardianship Order awarding temporary custody of Ellie to Gray's mother and father, Neal and Linda.
Following a lengthy police investigation, Butler was charged with cruelty in respect of the burns and causing GBH.
Following a four week trial in March 2009 he was found guilty by a majority verdict and was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.
Butler vehemently protested his innocence and with the support of Gray launched an appeal against his conviction, vowing to clear his name.
While in prison Gray discovered she was pregnant with another child, but hid the birth from the authorities.
By using her married name and a friend's address on the south coast she was able to conceal her pregnancy.
When the baby was six months old Gray was stopped by police in her car and the child was taken into care.
She later lied about the child's paternity when battling the authorities over custody.
October 2009: Butler Wins Appeal
In October 2009 he was released on bail pending a review of the evidence and the following June walked free from the Court of Appeal after three judges sensationally ruled that his conviction was unsafe.
Ellie had suffered a brain injury, bleeding on the brain and bleeding in the eyes, which experts refer to as the Triad and in many cases point to the likelihood that a baby has been violently shaken.
But the appeal judges decided that in this particular case the complex medical evidence presented at the trial did not show beyond reasonable doubt that Ellie's injuries had been caused by Butler.
Their findings also accused the judge in the original trial, His Honour Timothy Stow QC, of misdirecting the jury, going as far as to describe his summing up as "defective".
There was further criticism of the decision to include the charge of cruelty relating to Ellie's burns on the indictment, with the appeal judges saying "we do not think it would have been prosecuted had it stood alone".
So Butler was a free man, no longer responsible in law for what had happened to his daughter.
But the quashing of his conviction did not automatically reverse the ruling that said he and Gray were unfit to care for Ellie.
2011-2012: Parents Launch Custody Battle
Butler revelled in his status as a wronged father, unjustly treated by the corrupt system and went to war with the local authority over access to Ellie.
In one interview he said: "Even now - even though I've been proven innocent - I've still got to fight. It's been three-and-a-half years and it's non-stop - a constant battle. It takes everything from you. I've thrown everything at it and I just want to see her."
Social workers opposed the parents' application for a 're-hearing of the facts', but in May 2011 the High Court granted the couple an audience.
The re-hearing was to be heard before a judge in the Family Division and the highly respected and experienced Lady Justice Hogg was given the case.
It took place in the summer of 2012 and the burden of proof was on the local authority to satisfy the judge that the parents had done something to Ellie.
Both sides called a string of medical and scientific witnesses as they sought to prove their case and Lady Justice Hogg handed down her 88 page ruling in October 2012.
October 2012: Lady Justice Hogg Delivers Bombshell Judgment
The language of the judgment was so gushingly in favour of Butler that sources at the local authority admitted to being "shocked", particularly at the suggestion that there could have been an "innocent explanation" for what had happened to Ellie.
Brushing his lengthy criminal record, including a number of convictions for violence aside, the judge commented on how impressed she had been by him.
She even commented on the fact that none of his convictions for violent behaviour had been directed towards children.
The judge stated: "He came through as a reflective, thoughtful individual, who at times over-reacts through frustration.
"His manner can be seen by some as rude and aggressive, but the mother says there is a much softer side to him. She saw the look of love in his eyes and face towards his daughter."
She went on: "I hope everyone will accept that I do not attach any culpability to him, and that in my judgment he is exonerated from causing her any inflicted injury."
In conclusion the judge wrote: "It is seldom that I see a 'happy end' in public law proceedings. It is a joy for me to oversee the return of a child to her parents."
In an emotional outburst in court, Ellie's grandfather Neal Gray is said to have warned her: "You will have blood on your hands."
While the ruling came as a blow to social workers from the local authority, it was completely devastating for Ellie's loving grandparents who had cared for her from such a young age.
Mrs Justice Hogg appointed a team of independent social workers from a company called Services for Children to assess whether it would be safe for Ellie to return and to manage the transition.
In addition to her judgment Mrs Justice Hogg made a subsequent order that meant all files held by the authorities should be amended to include a prominent reference to the fact Butler and Gray had been exonerated of any blame for Ellie's injuries.
Her order also stated that Butler had permission to serve a copy of the order on "any Children's Services Department in which Ellie Butler [or her younger sibling] lives, any relevant Local Education Authority or school, any relevant NHS Trust or PCT body and any Police Constable or Constabulary".
November 2012: Ellie Returns Home To Her Parents
In November 2012 Ellie's grandparents dropped her off at school as usual and said a tearful goodbye.
When the school day was over Butler and Gray, who were by now living together, were waiting at the school gates to pick her up.
For three months the independent social workers kept an eye on the family but in March 2013, the case was signed off and all support mechanisms were removed.
Family videos and photographs from this time portray an image of blissful joy with a doting father getting to know the little girl he was so cruelly denied access to.
But behind closed doors the atmosphere at Westover Close in Sutton was completely toxic with Butler's short and violent temper regularly exploding.
Gray's job as a graphic designer meant she was the breadwinner for the family, leaving Butler to stay at home and look after Ellie and her younger sibling.
But it was a role he was deeply resentful of.
Text messages subsequently retrieved by the police laid bare the volatile atmosphere of violence and bullying that punctuated each day.
They also demonstrate how desperate Gray was to please her partner and how frightened she was of his violent temper.
Police retrieved thousands of abuse messages some of which indicated that Gray had been a victim of domestic violence.
In the weeks before she died Ellie was to suffer a broken shoulder, the true circumstances of which may never be revealed.
What is known however is that neither of her parents bothered to seek medical help for the extremely painful injury.
Regardless of whether her injuries were the result of an accident or something more sinister, the little girl was forced to endure weeks of agony as her parents deliberately avoided contact with the authorities.
October 2013: Ellie Is Found Dead
On 28 October 2013, the day after a large storm battered the south east, Gray left for her job as a graphic designer in an office close to the Old Bailey.
At 12.46pm Butler tried to call Gray's mobile but she failed to answer.
A few seconds later he sent her a text message that simply read: "Answer".
Within 30 seconds Gray called him back and after a very brief conversation immediately collected her things and left the office.
She flagged down a taxi, telling the driver, "Can you take me, my child is really ill?" arriving home at around 1.50pm.
During their trial Edward Brown QC said: "What happened in that time? Only two people truly know the whole of it and no truthful account from them has been forthcoming."
At 2.46 they called for an ambulance each screaming in a distressed state down the phone as if the tragic events had only just begun to unfold.
But in actual fact Butler and Gray had spent the previous hour attempting to plot a devious cover up while their daughter lay dead.
When paramedics arrived at 2.55pm Ellie was blue and cold to the touch.
The story they had prepared for authorities was that Gray had come home from work because she was feeling unwell and had brought cake for the family to enjoy.
Gray claimed Ellie had been playing upstairs in her room and when they called for her to come down there was no response.
In one of the most chilling twists of the case Butler and Gray attempted to cover their tracks by sending Ellie's younger sibling to discover her body, something for which the child has had to undergo therapy.
The couple claimed the child had come downstairs an had alerted them that Ellie would not wake up.
They said they had raced upstairs to discover her body lying next to an upturned stool.
Gray subsequently admitted that this had been a lie and Ellie had been dead when she got home.
She pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice, but claimed she had not wanted Butler to be blamed for something he had not done.
Paramedics reported that Ellie had a "boggy mess" at the back of her head. Her injuries were later described as being similar to what someone might suffer in a car crash.
Ellie was taken to hospital but was declared dead at 4.01pm
Butler told doctors that he had last seen his daughter at 11.30am when she had gone upstairs to play in her bedroom.
He was arrested on suspicion of murder at 9.20pm and immediately began protesting his innocence, telling the police: "I've done nothing wrong."
Dr Cary, consultant forensic pathologist, said he had never encountered an accidental head injury of this severity in a domestic environment and likened it to a high speed road traffic accident.
He said in his opinion the injury had been the result of one or more very forceful blunt impacts arising from being thrown against a wall or the ground or struck with a heavy blunt weapon.
There was also bruising to suggest she had been gripped around the jaw.
Professor Raul, an expert in child head injuries from the Institute of Legal Medicine at Strasbourg University, said he believed the injuries had been caused by two violent impacts to the head
The police investigation later found that the couple had washed their clothes, bought a cake and portioned it up to add credibility to their story.
They found Gray's diaries in the communal bins, including entries which showed how he had abused her both physically and mentally.
But throughout the entire legal process Gray never wavered in her support of Butler.
When asked in police interview to describe her relationship with Butler she replied: "Very strong, I'll describe it as very loving...he's the person I want to spend the rest of my life with and me for him...I truly, truly love him. Our relationship is great, it's fine...I've always been very happy with him."
After Butler was charged with murder and remanded in custody Gray demonstrated her continuing devotion by visiting him almost 200 times in prison.
May 2016: The Grandparents
Throughout the last nine years, Ellie's maternal grandparents fought valiantly but ultimately in vain to protect their granddaughter, who had thrived during the time they looked after her.
During endless court hearings they maintained their dignity despite the fact the conflict was tearing them apart.
While age and health was not in their favour, social workers believed that they provided the best possible option for Ellie in the short term, but the courts ruled against them.
After their granddaughter's death perhaps the only comfort they might have hoped for was that of seeing justice done.
Tragically for Linda, even that came too late, as she died on the day that the trial begun at the Old Bailey.
Neal was so overcome that he was unable to give evidence and Gray was not even informed of her mother's death during the trial.
Before Linda's death the couple issued a statement in which they spoke of their devastation at the loss of their granddaughter, who they described as their 'shining light'.