Nfld. & Labrador

Father charged with murder after body of girl, 5, pulled from Carbonear house fire

The father of the five-year-old girl whose body was found in a house fire in Carbonear, N.L., last weekend has been charged with first-degree murder and arson.

Trent Butt remains in serious condition in hospital

Father accused of murder after girl's body pulled from house fire


5 years ago
A judge will visit Trent Butt of Carbonear, N.L., in hospital to formally lay a charge 3:21

Police have charged a Newfoundland and Labrador man with first-degree murder and arson after his five-year-old daughter's body was pulled from their burning home this past weekend.

Trent Butt, 37, was also inside the Carbonear home when emergency crews responded early Sunday morning.

Butt was transported to hospital, where police say he remains in serious condition but is expected to survive.

Court staff, including a judge, visited his bedside Tuesday to make the charges official. 

Butt, who remains in the hospital under police supervision, is expected to appear in provincial court in Harbour Grace on May 11. 

Police said they're not certain how the girl died and continue to investigate.

"Evidence from the scene supports a charge of first-degree murder, indicating there's some degree of premeditation," RCMP Staff Sgt. Howard Gale told CBC News.

Police allege Butt set fire to the house.

People who know the family have posted a photo of five-year-old Quinn Lorna-Kay Butt on Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag #lightitupquinn.

A vigil is being organized for 8 p.m. Thursday at the Harbour Grace soccer field.

Gale said a family liaison officer is working with the girl's mother and her family, while police have also been in touch with Butt's relatives.

"Everyone is taking it quite hard," he said, adding it hits home for the officers involved.

Father charged

Here and Now

5 years ago
Police have charged a Newfoundland and Labrador man with first-degree murder and arson . 2:22

"Most of the people here at our detachment have children roughly that age, so it's pretty hard on everyone."

Shortly before the fire, Butt updated his Facebook account with a profile photo of himself and his daughter.

Firefighters discovered the young girl's body while responding to a house fire in Hayden Heights. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Court records show Butt faced three assault charges against his wife in the past, but all were dismissed.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Child and Youth Advocate, Carol Chafe, said Tuesday she will see if there is a role to play in reviewing the death.

"I was devastated to hear of the death of that poor little darling," Chafe said.

"When I become aware of any death or critical incident of a child, I look into it to see if have a role to play, either in providing advocacy services or in actually having to conduct an investigation."