A father was sentenced to 18 years in jail Tuesday for killing his 18-month-old baby girl, just two weeks after he and his husband adopted her.
The 31-year-old father, Matthew Scully-Hicks, killed his daughter, Elsie, by violently shaking her and banging her head, according to the Daily Mail. The toddler had sustained other injuries leading up to her death, including a broken leg and serious bruises.
“Elsie was aged just 18 months when you killed her, a young, vulnerable and defenceless child,” Judge Nicola Davies ruled in her sentence, following a four-week trial of the murder which took place in the Scully-Hicks’ hometown of Cardiff, Wales.
“In deliberately inflicting serious injuries upon your 18-month-old adoptive daughter you abused the trust which had been placed in you as Elsie’s adoptive father. It was a gross abuse of that trust. It was an abuse of the responsibility which had been placed upon you as her adoptive father to protect and care for this young, vulnerable and defenceless child,” Davies said in her ruling. (RELATED: Muslim Mom Who Killed Her Infant Gets Probation).
Medics determined that Elsie died May 25, 2016 from a heart attack. She also sustained a brain injury, bleeding in the eyes, a fractured skull and fractured ribs at the time of her death.
“I have never seen fractures of both bones like that in a child of this age,” said one of the doctors who evaluated Elsie, according to the Mirror.
The judge included in her statements that Scully-Hicks had acted in anger, rather than in a premeditated fashion, and showed no remorse for his actions. He was living in comfortable social circumstances at the time and showed no mental conditions, according to evaluations by two psychiatrists.
The Cardiff district’s social services are also facing an investigation after visiting the new family 15 times but failing to raise any concerns, despite Elsie’s continued show of suspect injuries. “Now that the criminal proceedings have concluded, the Regional Safeguarding Children Board will seek assurance that the independent child practice review, which has already been commissioned, into the tragic circumstances of the child’s death, will be progressed,” said a board spokesman.
“Our thoughts today are with little Elsie and those who knew and loved her,” said South Wales Police Inspector Stuart Wales.
Scully-Hicks maintains that he is innocent, despite testimony from 12 medical experts and six doctors who treated Elsie before and at the time of her death.
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