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Gay dad, 31, ‘murdered his baby daughter just two weeks after he and husband had adopted her’

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Scully-Hicks, a part-time fitness instructor of Delabole, Cornwall, denies murdering Elsie at the couple’s home in Llandaff, Cardiff.

Cardiff Crown Court heard that Wales Ambulance Service received a 999 call from Scully-Hicks at about 6.20pm on May 25, reporting that Elsie was unresponsive.

She received first aid from paramedics before being taken to the University Hospital of Wales, where she died in the early hours of May 29.

“It is the prosecution case that the injuries that caused Elsie’s death were inflicted upon her by the defendant shortly before he called the emergency services on that day,” Paul Lewis QC said.

“We allege that his attack on her on that day was not the first time that he had employed violence towards Elsie, nor was it the first time that he had caused her serious injury.

“We allege that his actions on the late afternoon/evening of May 25 were the tragic culmination of a course of violence 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.”

Medical tests at the hospital found Elsie had suffered bilateral subdural haemorrhages – bleeding on both sides of her brain.

There was evidence of both recent and older bleeding in her brain. Haemorrhages were also found in front of both of Elsie’s eyes.

A post-mortem examination revealed that Elsie had also suffered several broken ribs, a fractured left femur and a fractured skull.

The court heard that Scully-Hicks has no criminal convictions.

The couple relocated to Cardiff in 2010 or 2011 – they married in Portugal in August 2012 and applied to become adopters later that year.

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Elsie was removed from her natural mother, a drug user, within days of her birth in November 2014, the court heard. She went to live with the Scully-Hicks in September 2015, aged 10 months and the couple formally adopted Elsie on May 12 2016.

“Within two weeks of Elsie’s formal adoption by the couple, we allege that the defendant had inflicted fatal injuries upon her,” Mr Lewis said.

Mr Scully-Hicks described her physically as being “tiny and delicate” but with a “brash and bouncy” personality, the jury was told.

On November 5 2015, Elsie suffered an injury to her right leg when Mr Scully-Hicks was at work.

She was taken to the doctor four days later and an X-ray at hospital on November 12 revealed a fracture just above her right ankle.

Mr Lewis said Scully-Hicks gave differing accounts of how Elsie suffered the injury to his husband and to doctors.

On December 16, while Mr Scully-Hicks was at work, Elsie sustained a bruise to the left hand side of her forehead, and on January 18, 2016, Elsie suffered another bruise to her head.

Mr Scully-Hicks received a phone call from his husband on March 10, saying he was in an ambulance with Elsie as she had fallen down the stairs.

He claimed to have been sorting washing in a bedroom, with Elsie on the floor, before going downstairs – closing the gate behind him.

“He said he had then seen Elsie at the top of the stairs, that the baby gate had then opened and that Elsie had tumbled down the stairs,” Mr Lewis said.

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Mr Scully-Hicks was working in Leicester at the time but immediately headed to Cardiff, meeting the defendant at the University Hospital of Wales.

Elsie’s injuries were considered to be “consistent with a fall downstairs” and she was discharged home after four hours in hospital, Mr Lewis said.

On May 25, at 6.18pm, Scully-Hicks called for an ambulance, reporting Elsie was not awake or breathing.

“I was just changing my daughter for bed and she went all floppy and limp,” Scully-Hicks told the operator.

During the 999 call, lasting eight minutes and 22 seconds, Scully-Hicks could be heard saying “oh my God” and “this is horrible”.

Scully-Hicks allegedly told paramedic Jonathan Aberg that Elsie had “screamed out as in pain, then collapsed”.

“This was not something that the defendant was ever to tell Craig Scully-Hicks, hospital staff or the police,” Mr Lewis said.

At hospital, Scully-Hicks told police, doctors and his husband that he had changed Elsie on the floor in front of the television.

He took the dirty nappy out to the kitchen, leaving Elsie on the floor and returned to find her apparently sleeping – she did not respond to him and he began CPR.

“He seemed to be describing some sort of spontaneous collapse in the moments that he was out of the room and Elsie was alone,” Mr Lewis said.

Elsie’s ventilator was turned off in the early hours of May 29 and she died at 2.05am.

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