A GAY fitness instructor shook his 18-month-old daughter to death just two weeks after formally adopting her with his partner, a court heard yesterday.
Scully-Hicks arrives at court for start of his trial yesterday
Matthew Scully-Hicks assaulted and abused baby Elsie over several months before killing her, it was alleged.
He screamed obscenities at the little girl when she cried and even branded her “Satan in a babygrow”, the jury was told.
Scully-Hicks, 31, allegedly attacked Elsie at their home in Cardiff while partner Craig Scully-Hicks was out at work.
“His actions were the tragic culmination of a course of violent conduct on his part towards a defenceless child,” said Paul Lewis, prosecuting.
“An infant that he should have loved and protected, but whom he instead assaulted, abused and ultimately murdered.”
A post mortem revealed she suffered a fractured skull, a broken left thigh bone and several fractured ribs.
Elsie, a “tiny and delicate child,” had been with Scully-Hicks for less than two months when her right leg was broken, Cardiff Crown Court was told.
He allegedly claimed she slipped and twisted her leg.
A few weeks later, she suffered a bruise to the left side of her forehead.
Scully-Hicks told his partner the little girl had “whacked herself” when she tried to pull herself to her feet.
A health visitor urged him to get medical attention for Elsie but there was no record of her seeing a doctor, the court heard.
Three months later, she allegedly fell down the stairs at the couple’s home in Fairwater, Cardiff.
Shortly afterwards, she developed a squint, the court heard.
Scully-Hicks allegedly killed Elsie by shaking her so hard, she suffered “catastrophic head injuries.” In May last year, he rang 999 and said the toddler had suddenly gone “floppy and limp” while he changed her for bed.
He later told paramedics his adopted daughter had “screamed out as in pain”, then collapsed.
Elsie was rushed to University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff.
At the time, she was not breathing and there were “no signs of cardiac output”, the court heard.
Four days later, doctors concluded there was no chance she could survive the traumatic head injuries and her ventilator was switched off.
Tests showed she had suffered bleeding to both sides of the brain and bleeding of the eyes, the jury was told.
There was also evidence of both recent and older bleeding in her brain.
Following her death an X-ray of her leg break from November 2015 was re-examined, the court heard.
It was found that Elsie suffered two fractures – one near the ankle and one just above the knee.
A specialist concluded it would be “unusual” to suffer two such breaks in the same fall.
Company director Craig Scully-Hicks was working in Leicester at the time she suffered the fatal injuries, the court heard.
Elsie, whose natural mother was a drug addict, was born in November 2014 and came to live with the couple in September 2015.
After they brought Elsie home in 2015, Scully-Hicks gave up full-time work to look after her.
Less than a fortnight later, he wrote to a friend: “I’m going through hell with Elsie.
“Meal times and bed time are like my worst nightmare. She’s been up there screaming for 10 minutes non-stop.
“She’s just stopped but I doubt that’s the last I’ll hear tonight.”
Later that evening, he described Elsie as a “psycho” in a message to his partner.
Neighbours allegedly heard Scully-Hicks repeatedly shouting “shut up” and screaming obscenities at the toddler.
Elsie did not become their adopted daughter until just two weeks before her death.
Scully-Hicks, of Delabole, Cornwall, denies murder.
He claims the medical investigation was unsatisfactory and allegedly told police: “I’m not satisfied the medical reports have explored everything. They explored one option and one option only.”
The trial continues.