A gay step-father accused of shaking his adopted baby to death has been convicted of her murder today.
Matthew Scully-Hicks, 31, was accused of inflicting fatal injuries on Elsie Scully-Hicks while he was looking after her at his home in Llandaff, Cardiff, on May 25 2016.
The jury of nine men and three women have been retired since Wednesday afternoon but came back with a unanimous verdict shortly after 12pm today.
The tragic baby died just two weeks after she was formally adopted by fitness instructor Scully-Hicks and his husband Craig, 36.
Scully-Hicks denied murdering little Elsie but was found guilty by a jury after a four week trial.
Matthew Scully-Hicks, 31, was accused of inflicting fatal injuries on Elsie Scully-Hicks while he was looking after her at his home in Llandaff, Cardiff, on May 25 2016
Cardiff Crown Court heard the youngster suffered a string of injuries when she was alone with stay-at-home dad Scully-Hicks.
Prosecutor Paul Lewis QC said Elsie was found unresponsive by paramedics after Scully-Hicks attacked her at his home in Llandaff, Cardiff, on May 25 last year.
She died at University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, after doctors decided she would not survive her traumatic head injuries.
Mr Lewis 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 baby grow.’
Neighbour Susan Bevan, who lived in the joining semi-detached house to the couple, said things changed when Elsie moved in.
Mr Lewis said: ‘On one occasion she heard a little girl crying and ‘the one who stayed at home’ having a rant and shouting ‘shut up, shut up, shut the f*** up.”
Mrs Bevan’s adult son, James, also heard Matthew Scully-Hicks shouting ‘shut up you little f***ing brat’ and ‘shut up you silly little c***.’
The court heard Elsie suffered a broken leg, just above her right ankle, just two months after being in the care of Scully-Hicks.
Over the next seven months she also had mystery bruises on her head and was rushed to hospital in March last year after allegedly falling down the stairs.
A post mortem examination found Elsie suffered bleeding behind both eyes as well as rib fractures, and a skull fracture which the pathologist said was ‘as the result of an impact to the head.’
Consultant paediatrician Dr Stephen Rose said he believed Elsie’s injuries were caused by being ‘shaken violently.’
Elsie was first put in the care of Scully-Hicks in September 2015 and the process was finalised nearly eight months later.