US professor gives evidence in baby murder trial

An American professor has told a murder trial how an adopted baby had a vitamin deficiency which can make bones brittle.

Professor Michael Holick, a professor of medicine at Boston University, gave evidence in court over a video link in the trial of adoptive father Matthew Scully-Hicks.

Scully-Hicks, from Delabole, Cornwall, is accused of killing Elsie Scully-Hicks, who was 18 months old when she died in May 2016.

Professor Holick said he believed Elsie could have suffered from Vitamin D deficiency in her bones.

In court today, the professor explained a lack of Vitamin D or calcium in children’s bones can lead to rickets, which is a disease that causes bones to become more fragile.

Professor Michael Holick, a professor of medicine at Boston University, gave evidence in court over a video link in the trial of adoptive father Matthew Scully-Hicks

Elsie Scully-Hicks

Matthew Scully-Hicks

Matthew Scully-Hicks (right) is accused of killing Elsie Scully-Hicks (left), who died last year

Rickets can also have an effect on the healing process of any damaged bones in children.

Defencing Scully-Hicks, Robert O’Sullivan QC asked the professor for his opinion after seeing medical reports from Elsie’s admission to hospital.

Prof Holick said: ‘In my opinion, with a high degree of medical certainty, if I was to see her with that blood level there is no question she was Vitamin D deficient and extremely high risk for rickets.’

Prof Holick, a former professor of medicine at Harvard University, and who has seen approximately 25,000 patients, confirmed that he was shown reports of medical notes from when Elsie was admitted to hospital in May last year.

He also saw reports of scans that were conducted on Elsie, including her left leg.

He said: ‘I came to the same conclusion that the X-ray findings is consistent with metabolic bone disease associated with Vitamin D deficiency.’

Cardiff Crown Court heard Scully-Hicks, 31, allegedly killed little Elsie just two weeks after formally adopting her with his husband Craig.

Fitness instructor Scully-Hicks, who acted as a stay-at-home father while his husband worked away.

The court was also told Scully-Hicks messaged husband Craig to describe Elsie as ‘Satan in a baby grow’ and also described her as ‘a psycho’.

Elsie suffered from three separate areas of subdural bleeding, a skull fracture and fractures to three ribs and her leg.

Scully-Hicks denies one charge of murder

Scully-Hicks denies one charge of murder

Paramedics attended the Scully-Hicks family home to find Elsie not breathing and no sign of a heartbeat after he dialed 999.

Elsie was taken to University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, but died in the early hours of May 29 last year.

Dr Stephen Rose, a consultant paediatrician told Cardiff Crown Court that it was likely that she had been shaken violently.

He said: ‘It’s likely that Elsie Scully-Hicks had been shaken violently and that her head had been rocked backwards and forwards so that her head was flexed down on to her chest and flexed backwards.’

The jury at Cardiff Crown Court was read a number of text messages between Scully-Hicks, 31, and his husband Craig, 36, and friends. 

In one, Scully-Hicks said: ‘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 ten minutes non-stop. She’s just stopped but I doubt that’s the last I’ll hear tonight.’

In a message to his husband, Scully-Hicks described Elsie as ‘Satan dressed up in a babygro’ and then added: ‘Elsie has had two nights of being Satan’.

The couple also joked about ‘calling a priest’ for Elsie if she did not stop behaving like Satan, the court heard. 

Scully-Hicks, of Delabole, Cornwall, denies murder. The trial continues. 

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