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I'm sorry I threw drain cover into family's car; Drink-fuelled dad's jail apology for risking life of four-year-old.

Byline: By LIZ WALKER

LOCKED-up lout Benjamin Butler has issued an apology for the wrecking spree that almost claimed the life of a young girl.

Butler told partner Selina Scott from jail that he assaulted three people and hurled a drain cover through a car window in a drinkfuelled moment of madness and can remember nothing about the event.

And he asked Selina, the mother of his two children Leah, three, and Dylan, two, to apologise on his behalf.

She said: "What he did was so out of character. He thinks he must have had his drink spiked.

"He still remembers nothing about what happened.

"He just wants to say he is sorry to everyone who was hurt that night, especially to the family of the little girl."

Butler, 28, a cavity installer, of Northumberland Avenue, Newbigginby-the-Sea, had already assaulted two people with a piece of fence when he hurled the drain cover at grandmother Wendy Hart's car and then punched her.

It smashed through Mrs Hart's rear windscreen and landed inches from her four-year-old grandaughter Ella, covering her with shards of glass. Luckily, Ella escaped without injury.

Mrs Hart said Butler's violent recklessness has had farreaching effects, with Ella too terrified to get back in a car.

But Selina said: "Ben has two kids of his own. When he found out he just missed that little girl he was devastated. He came home and cried.

"If he had been in any right state of mind or had any idea there was a little girl in the car he would never have done what he did."

The couple have been together for five years and, although Selina admits Butler has a "shady" past, he had cleaned up his act since becoming a dad.

She said: "He has settled down and is a great dad.

"We are engaged, and if he hadn't been sent to prison we were going to get married.

"The children are heartbroken now he's gone.

"They don't understand what has happened and one of them keeps asking where he is."

Selina said: "He had been working on a friend's garden and had drunk a few cans.

"We were walking home and suddenly he ran off.

"I didn't see him again until I got a call saying he had been locked up.

"He thinks his drink must have been spiked."

She added: "He wants to say how sorry he is to the little girl's family. My heart goes out to them.

He is gutted everyone thinks he is a thug. He is really not like that."

Butler was jailed for eight months after admitting three assaults and criminal damage.

CAPTION(S):

APOLOGY: Benjamin Butler is behind bars; LIFE APART: Selina Denton with Benjamin Butler's mum Christine
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 12, 2007
Words:458
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