A fitness instructor has been convicted of murdering his 18-month-old adopted daughter by violently shaking her and striking her head.
Matthew Scully-Hicks, 31, inflicted a catalogue of injuries – including bruises, a broken leg and a fall down a full flight of stairs – on Elsie in the eight months he had care of her.
She died four days after being violently shaken and sustaining a fractured skull just two weeks after being formally adopted by the defendant and his husband.
Cardiff Crown Court heard Scully-Hicks, who broke in tears when the verdict was returned, struggled to cope with the toddler and branded her ‘a psycho’, ‘the exorcist’ and ‘Satan dressed up in a Babygro’ in text messages.
Neighbours heard the former lifeguard shouting ‘shut the f*** up’ at Elsie and calling her a ‘little f****** brat’ and a ‘silly little c***’ when she cried.
Scully Hicks’s messages about his daughter
Matthew Scully-Hicks described his adopted toddler daughter Elsie Scully-Hicks as ‘Satan dressed up in a baby grow’ and joked about calling in a priest for her after discussing ‘the exorcist’ in messages to his family and friends.
Jurors who convicted Scully-Hicks of murdering the 18-month-old were read a number of messages found on his devices.
They appear to show the 31-year-old struggling to cope with looking after her, his trial at Cardiff Crown Court heard.
Here follows a number of messages read to the jury:
Tired tonight, it’s the first day on my own with the kids. Went ok but Elsie didn’t settle in the night and I’m going to be in for a long night :(:(:(
Bit hairy around teatime lots of screaming lol. Elsie hasn’t been sleeping great but I think that’s a long-standing problem. I’m hoping she sleeps through the night. Fingers crossed.
It’s a long-standing issue. She wakes up at regular intervals during the night. She just wants to be given her dummy and attention but she has a proper diva strop about it all! We think someone used to bring her downstairs in the middle of the night which we don’t do. She’s pissy because we don’t let her.
I’m dealing with another diva strop at tea time. She practically popped the eyes out of her head. As soon as she ate it and the dessert came out her halo was back on.
I’m going through hell with Elsie. Mealtimes and bedtimes are like my worst nightmare at the minute. She has been up there screaming for 10 minutes non-stop. She’s just stopped but I doubt that’s the last I’ll hear tonight.
She has just screamed non stop for 10 minutes. She had a full bottle and clean nappy. Literally not even half an hour and she is a psycho. She was knackered too so I don’t get it. I left her to cry. I can’t go up there every time!!! She has to learn.
Yo yo well on the whole it was OK… minus lunch and tea time when she turned into Satan!!! Then again at bedtime she screamed in her cot for 10 minutes!!! lol xx
She gets so wound up when she doesn’t get her own way. It is unbelievable.
She is just being a pain in the ass. She was a dream until 6.30 then turned into a monster again and refused to finish her bottle. In the end I just put her in the cot, closed the door and left her. She woke again at 7.30, cried a little but then went off again. So far no more but who knows with her.
Honestly she is satan dressed up in a baby grow!!! In bed half a bottle just about and screamed through it all again!!!
Elsie has had two nights of being Satan before bed which ain’t fun!! What gwan with you? All ready for last day then? Xx
Whoop whoop yep still on for Thursday!! Haha she pretty much looks and sounds like the exorcist to be fair!!!
Awesome I can’t wait…. If she does it too much more we will call a priest lol
No I’m stressed and I have a headache!!! She won’t stop crying because she’s over tired because yet again she refused to nap because we were out … this is exhausting!!! Xxx
Scully-Hicks insisted he never harmed Elsie and claimed she must have spontaneously suffered fatal injuries after he changed her for bed at home in Llandaff, Cardiff, on May 25 last year.
But following the trial lasting more than four weeks, during which 12 medical experts and six doctors gave evidence, jurors unanimously found him guilty of murder.
The jury returned their verdict on their fourth day of deliberating the case.
An independent Child Practice Review is now under way to examine the ‘tragic circumstances’ of Elsie’s death, a spokesman for Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Regional Safeguarding Children Board said.
Following the verdict, prosecutor Paul Lewis QC told the court: ‘Elsie was particularly vulnerable by reason of her age.
‘There was a gross abuse of trust on the part of the defendant. We invite the court to bear in mind the nature and the extent of the injuries suffered.
‘All the injuries suffered by Elsie in her short life while living with the defendant were deliberately inflicted by him.’