Elsie Scully-Hicks was simply 18 months previous when she died from catastrophic accidents. Her adopted father Matthew Scully-Hicks inflicted a listing of violence on her within the eight months she lived with him.
To the skin world he was a loving, stay-at-home father with common visits by social employees and well being guests choosing up no troubling indicators but two weeks after the adoption was finalised, Elsie was lifeless with accidents specialists later in comparison with a “major trauma such as a car accident”.
Personal coach Matthew Scully-Hicks and his husband Craig appeared to have all the pieces – a cheerful marriage, two longed-for youngsters, monetary stability and a detailed circle of household and buddies.
But behind closed doorways he was struggling to manage, violently dropping his mood.
He managed to go off the accidents he inflicted on his daughter as unintended in order to not increase the suspicions of these concerned within the shut supervision of the household, as a part of the adoption course of.
Even his husband didn’t suspect something.
During the trial, Matthew’s husband Craig Scully-Hicks described an idyllic household set-up: “Let me be clear. My house was filled with love and happiness, all of the time,” he mentioned.
“If I had suspected anything I wouldn’t have tolerated it.”
The couple married in 2012 and determined to undertake.
As Matthew Scully-Hicks informed the court docket, he all the time noticed them as being a “family with two children”.
“We were both of the mind we wanted children. It’s something we could agree on very early on,” he informed the jury.
And they had been excited for the long run: “We had requested [a baby] as younger as potential.
“We wished to see and witness as a lot as we might. We wished to be there after they took their first steps and wished to be there after they mentioned their first phrase – we wished to see all of that.”
The couple determined Matthew Scully-Hicks would keep at dwelling whereas Craig continued to work as an organization director with frequent journeys away in a single day.
The couple had already adopted one youngster and determined to undergo the method for a second time.
After present process a year-long evaluation, 10-month-old Elsie got here to reside at their Cardiff dwelling in September 2015.
Social employees visited the household fortnightly because the child settled into her new household.
Health customer Jodie Golten noticed Elsie on three events. She mentioned: “She was a cheerful, smiley youngster. Loving life, I suppose… smiles throughout.”
She first visited Elsie a month after she moved in with the couple and wrote in her notes: “She seems to have a beautiful, bond rising with Matt. Both giving pretty eye contact and taking part in collectively.”
‘Struggling to manage’
When requested in court docket if she had any issues about her care, she mentioned: “None in any respect.”
But textual content messages despatched from Matthew Scully-Hicks revealed issues had been lower than excellent at dwelling.
In them, he mentioned he was “struggling to manage” when caring for Elsie – describing her as “Satan in a babygro” and a “psycho” and said she was “having a correct diva strop”.
Neighbours mentioned that they had heard Matthew Scully-Hicks shout and sound “exasperated and annoyed” when taking care of Elsie.
They reported listening to him swearing on the toddler and repeatedly telling the crying youngster to “shut up”.
And it was not lengthy earlier than Elsie began struggling accidents which wanted hospital consideration.
Each time she was harm, Craig Scully-Hicks was at work and his husband had a easy clarification. Or because the prosecution put it, he made up “a narrative of unusual home accidents to elucidate one thing [he] had carried out”.
A month after arriving, Elsie’s leg was injured. That was blamed on a fall within the kitchen. A physician discovered one fracture however missed one other. If the second fracture had been noticed medical doctors would have raised issues about youngster safety, the court docket heard.
Two months later she had a bruise on her brow, which Matthew Scully-Hicks mentioned resulted from her banging her head on a play kitchen.
Health customer Ms Golten noticed the bruise on a house go to and questioned Matthew Scully-Hicks about it.
She later wrote in her notes, “Dad reports he sought medical advice after this incident” and later informed Cardiff Crown Court it appeared “plausible for her developmental stage”.
On 10 March 2016, about two months earlier than her demise, Elsie fell down the steps. Matthew Scully-Hicks mentioned he had failed to shut a security gate appropriately and it had opened when she pulled herself up on it.
On this event he known as 999. The jury was performed performed the 27-minute name he made, during which he could possibly be heard saying: “Elsie, Elsie, come on, stay awake, stay awake, stay awake, babe, come on”.
Elsie was taken to hospital however was discharged later that day.
Ms Golten phoned Scully-Hicks on 5 May 2016, shortly after receiving a notice from the hospital in regards to the fall. After the dialog she made a notice: “Appropriate action taken from dad”.
On 25 May, Matthew Scully-Hicks made his second and last name to the emergency companies.
Elsie was unresponsive on the lounge flooring.
He mentioned he had left the room after altering her nappy and on his return discovered her there. Police officers arrived to seek out him finishing up CPR on her tiny physique and took over, with the kid rushed to hospital.
When Craig Scully-Hicks went from work to the hospital, he noticed his daughter on the working desk with medics attempting to save lots of her life.
It was on the hospital Matthew Scully-Hicks’ story started to disintegrate. His behaviour struck paediatrician Dr David Tuthill as “very unusual”.
“Most resuscitations, people are in tears. Parents are normally in floods of tears. It struck me as very unusual. It was very strange and out of the ordinary,” he informed the court docket.
Paediatrician Dr Nia John was known as from dwelling to see the couple following the outcomes of a CT scan. It had proven bleeding on the mind later described as being per a “shaking-type injury”.
There was additionally haemorrhaging inside each of Elsie’s retinas – related to inflicted trauma or harm.
This time Elsie did not come dwelling from hospital. She died on 29 May 2016.
Tests confirmed she had a collection of damaged bones and a fractured cranium, brought about days earlier. All of her accidents pointed to a non-accidental trigger.
Dr Sarah Harrison, who examined Elsie after her demise. mentioned of her leg accidents: “I have seen [these injuries] in adults from major trauma such as a car accident or falling from a significant height, but I have not seen that in a child of this age.”
She mentioned she had by no means seen such accidents in a baby in her 20 years of expertise.
Pathologists informed the court docket Elsie’s accidents had been per “shaking impact syndrome” and that her damaged ribs had been seemingly brought on by being gripped.
But all through the trial, Matthew Scully-Hicks maintained ignorance as to how Elsie sustained her accidents.
When questioned by police, he mentioned: “I need solutions as a lot as anyone however I can’t settle for that the one reply individuals are giving me is that I’ve brought about these accidents.
“I’m not glad the medical reviews explored all the pieces – they explored one choice.”
He insisted he “was capable of cope” and “wasn’t harbaded” whereas caring for Elsie. But the jury rejected his claims.
Elsie died by the hands of one of many individuals who ought to have cared for her most.
Matthew Scully-Hicks was capable of cover the violence he inflicted on the 18-month-old youngster from his household and from the social employees and well being guests who supervised the adoption course of.
Elsie’s case will now be thought-about as half of a kid follow evaluation (CPR) – a evaluation which is triggered every time a baby dies or is severely injured and abuse or neglect is badumed to have been concerned.
The evaluation will contemplate whether or not there are clbades to be learnt which can stop one other youngster struggling the identical destiny as Elsie.