A baby who was killed by her adoptive gay father was removed from her birth mother due to her drug taking, a judge has revealed.
Elsie Scully-Hicks was just 18 months old when she was murdered by her adoptive father Matthew Scully-Hicks, 31, at the home he shared with his partner in Llandaff, Cardiff.
A previously unreleased family court judgment in the case today revealed the reasons she was initially removed from her birth mother.
Speaking at the end of last year, Mr Justice Moor said: ‘Her birth mother is a drug addict who was certainly in prison at one point during the adoption proceedings.’
He added: ‘Elsie had to be taken away from her birth mother as she was suffering significant harm at the hands of her birth mother, due primarily to her birth mother’s drug addiction.’
Elsie Scully-Hicks died at the hands of her adoptive father just days after her adoption was completed. A judge today revealed the reasons she was removed from her birth mother
Mr Justice Moor had been asked to make findings of fact to help social services staff make decisions about the care of Elsie’s sibling.
He had analysed issues at a family court hearing in December 2016, but his conclusions had to be kept under wraps to prevent the criminal trial being delayed.
‘The facts of this case raise serious issues that will be of genuine public concern,’ he said in his ruling. ‘This case is as serious a case as I have dealt with.’
The judgement exonerates Scully-Hicks’ husband of any blame, with the judge finding he did not fail to protect Elsie.
Mr Justice Moor, who is based in the Family Division of the High Court in London, added: ‘I make it absolutely clear that the fact that this was a gay adoption is quite irrelevant.’
The judge said he had come across a significant number of non-accidental injury cases ‘involving all sorts of different people’.
Matthew Scully-Hicks was jailed for a minimum of 18 years for the little girl’s murder
‘I am absolutely satisfied that sexuality has absolutely no role whatsoever in determining which of a very small minority act in a way that very serious injury and/or death is done to children,’ the judge said.
‘I am equally satisfied that Matthew Scully-Hicks presented to the world as eminently suitable to adopt.’
During Scully-Hicks’ trial, prosecutors told Cardiff Crown Court he had violently shaken Elsie.
Jurors heard how he had described the toddler as ‘a psycho’, ‘the exorcist’ and ‘Satan dressed up in a baby grow’ in text messages to friends and family members.
They were told that he struggled to cope with being the primary carer for Elsie as his husband, who worked full-time.
Scully-Hicks denied murder, but a jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict following a four-week trial. He was jailed for at least 18 years.