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Adoptive father murdered toddler daughter by shaking her

Matthew Scully-Hicks formally adopted Elsie two weeks before her death in Cardiff.

Matthew Scully-Hicks and Elsie Scully-Hicks
Matthew Scully-Hicks and Elsie Scully-Hicks PA/ South Wales Police

An adoptive father has been convicted of murdering his 18-month-old daughter by violently shaking her and striking her head.

Matthew Scully-Hicks was found guilty of inflicting a catalogue of injuries - including bruises, a broken leg and a fall down a full flight of stairs - on his adoptive daughter Elsie in the eight months he had care for her.

The 31-year-old and his husband had only formally adopted Elsie two weeks before her death in May 2016, after she was violently shaken and suffered a fractured skull.

Cardiff Crown Court heard Scully-Hicks, who broke down in tears when the verdict was returned, struggled to cope with the toddler and branded her "a psycho", "the exorcist" and "Satan dressed up in a Babygro" in text messages.

Neighbours heard the former lifeguard shouting "shut the f*** up" at Elsie and calling her a "little f****** brat" and a "silly little c***" when she cried.

Scully-Hicks insisted he never harmed Elsie and claimed she must have spontaneously suffered fatal injuries after he changed her for bed at home in Llandaff, Cardiff, on May 25 last year.

But following the trial which lasted more than four weeks, during which 12 medical experts and six doctors gave evidence, jurors unanimously found him guilty of murder.

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