Less than two weeks after adopting the 18-month-year-old toddler, Elsie Scully-Hicks was murdered by her adopted father.

It has been revealed that after months of abuse leading to the child suffering many injuries, doctors did not detect a fracture of the girl’s thighbone. As well as health and social professionals failing to record any abuse such as bruises.

Former fitness instructor, Matthew Scully-Hicks adopted Elsie with his husband. As the report says, the two were “welcoming” and had “valuable childcare experience”. However, during their “detailed and comprehensive” assessment for adoption, it was not enough as when it came to the child’s health there was a “lack of professional curiosity’ regarding Elsie’s bruises.

Elsie had been in the care of the two men since September 2015 after she was removed from her drug abuser mother. During this time, Matthew Scully-Hicks took care of her full time, while husband Craig worked as an accountant.

However, once Elsie had endured her final attack, Scully-Hicks declared that she had fallen, when in fact he has shaken her and is believed to have banged her head against a hard surface.

Upon review, child practice stated that due to the child’s consistent injuries the opportunity to explore it further was missed. Further proclaiming that: “No safeguarding concerns were raised.”

Around the time of the death, due to inconsistent medical records in which IT systems had various combinations of birth and adopted name, none of them had all of the vital information which was needed.

Cardiff Crown Court heard that last year Scully-Hicks had complained many times that Elsie was a difficult child via texts. He had described her as awful things such as: “Satan”, “psycho” and “monster” while admitting he was ready to “explode”.

Series of abuse undetected

Another red flag that was failed to be explored was in November 2015, when the child had a leg injuring in which Scully-Hicks used a similar line in which the murder happened, declaring she fell.

An adoption review took place around the time of December, in which Elsie has received a bruise on her forehead, yet the bruise was not recorded by them. Not only that but merely five days after the review a professional in health care also saw the bruise and also failed to report this.

Director of social services at Vale of Glamorgan council, Lance Carver has since accepted the report and has apologised for the mistakes in Elsie’s cases.

Yet, no disciplinary actions have been taken against any of the staff involved.

On the 12 of May 2016, the adoption of Elsie in the care of the Scully-Hicks’ was officially approved. Just thirteen days later the police were called, and Scully-Hicks said that his daughter had collapsed. Once the ambulance team arrived on the scene, Elsie was already not breathing and was in cardiac arrest. Elsie passed away four days later, with reports saying that she had suffered three rib fractures, a skull fracture, retinal bleeding and three separate areas of bleeding on the brain.

Justice for Elsie

In the end, due to the lack of investigation into her case, Elsie was placed into care in hopes for a more positive life but has died at the hands of her abuser.

The only positive outcome of this case is in November 2017, Matthew Scully-Hicks was imprisoned for life and was told that he would serve a minimum of 18 years for the murder of his own adopted daughter.