Gay father who murdered his adopted daughter is jailed

Matthew Scully-Hicks, 31, (pictured) was today jailed for 18 years

Matthew Scully-Hicks, 31, (pictured) was today jailed for 18 years

A fitness instructor who murdered his 18-month-old adopted daughter after calling her 'Satan in a Babygro' was today jailed for life.

Matthew Scully-Hicks, 31, subjected Elsie Scully-Hicks to months of horrific assaults and was heard shouting 'shut the f*** up' at her in his home in Llandaff, Cardiff.

The toddler suffered a string of suspicious injuries including bruises and a broken her leg and had fallen down the stairs at the house.

Following months of abuse Scully-Hicks, a fitness instructor, eventually killed the youngster just two weeks after she was formally adopted by him and his 36-year-old husband Craig. 

And today he was jailed for life with a minimum of 18 years at Cardiff Crown Court.  

Social services in the Vale of Glamorgan now face an investigation after they visited the family 15 times but still raised no concerns - despite finding out the severity of her injuries.   

The court heard Scully-Hicks also shook the toddler while he was looking after her and threw her against a hard floor.  

Cardiff Crown Court heard Scully-Hicks branded her 'a psycho', 'the exorcist' and 'Satan dressed up in a Babygro' in text messages.

Neighbours also heard the former lifeguard calling Elsie a 'little f****** brat' and a 'silly little c***'. 

Scully-Hicks, who sobbed when he was convicted, denied murdering her but was yesterday found guilty by a jury after a four week trial.  

Matthew Scully-Hicks, 31, shook Elsie Scully-Hicks before she was 'thrown against a hard floor' while he was looking after her at his home in Llandaff, Cardiff, on May 25 2016

Elsie Scully-Hicks was

Matthew Scully-Hicks, 31, shook Elsie Scully-Hicks before she was 'thrown against a hard floor' while he was looking after her at his home in Llandaff, Cardiff, on May 25 2016 

A Child Practice Review has been commissioned 'into the tragic circumstances' of Elsie's death, a spokesman for the Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Regional Safeguarding Children Board said.

Elsie was formally adopted by the couple on May 12 last year and suffered fatal injuries at their home in Llandaff, Cardiff, on May 25.

Hours before the attack, Matthew Scully-Hicks had taken her shopping at Marks & Spencer for an outfit to wear at a party celebrating her adoption.

He sent pictures of outfits at Marks & Spencer to his husband and purchased one for Elsie to wear. 

But instead he shook her and then threw her to the ground, leaving his daughter fatally injured. 

Scully-Hicks had presented himself as a loving and doting father but he inflicted injury after injury on Elsie before he killed he

Scully-Hicks had presented himself as a loving and doting father but he inflicted injury after injury on Elsie before he killed her

In a 999 call at 6.18pm, he claimed: 'I was just changing my daughter for bed and she went all floppy and limp.'

Paramedics arrived at 6.26pm and Elsie was taken to the University Hospital of Wales, where she died four days later.

Tests showed she had suffered three separate areas of bleeding on her brain, bleeding in both eyes, a skull fracture and three rib fractures.

Consultant paediatrician Dr Stephen Rose said Elsie's injuries could be explained by her being 'shaken violently'.

Dr Rose said her fractured skull would have been caused by a blow to her head, with Elsie thrown against a hard floor or her head knocked against a wall.

Elsie's rib fractures were likely caused by Scully-Hicks gripping her, the court heard.

The court was told Elsie was placed with Scully-Hicks and his husband in September 2015, aged 10 months.

Paul Lewis QC, prosecuting, said Elsie was found unresponsive by paramedics after Scully-Hicks attacked her at his home.

He said: 'The injuries that caused her death were inflicted upon her by the defendant shortly before he called emergency services that day. 

'His attack upon her that day was not the first time he had employed violence towards Elsie, nor was it the first time he had caused her serious injury.

'His actions on the late afternoon of May 25 were the tragic culmination of a course of violent conduct on his part towards a defenceless child - an infant that he should have loved and protected, but whom he instead assaulted, abused, and ultimately murdered.'

The court heard Scully-Hicks also sent messages to husband Craig calling Elsie 'a psycho' and 'Satan dressed up in a Babygro.' 

Social workers visited the couple 15 times

January 9 - Initial visit by adoption manager Bethan James 

February 20 - Initial visit by Laura Neal, social worker, with the couple for assessment as potential adopters

March 9, 20 and 30 - Further visits by Laura Neal to assess the Scully-Hicks

April 13 - Further assessment visit by Laura Neal        

July 30 - Laura Neal and Mark Lloyd-Selby, Elsie's social worker, visit the Scully-Hicks

September 17 and 28 - Elsie observed during social work visits to the Scully-Hicks' home by Hillary Southam and Laura Neal  

September 29 - Adoption review at the house with social workers and independent reviewing officer Erol Bowers

December 2 - Visit by social worker Cheryl Longley 

January 26 - Social worker visit with Cheryl Longley

February 26 - Social worker visit with Cheryl Longley 

March 14 - Social worker visit with Cheryl Longley 

April 29 - Social worker visit by Laura Neal

Matthew Scully-Hicks previously claimed Elsie had fallen down the stairs and hurt herself in the months before her death

Matthew Scully-Hicks previously claimed Elsie had fallen down the stairs and hurt herself in the months before her death

Neighbour Susan Bevan, who lived in the joining

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