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Elsie Scully-Hicks: Adopted father's calmness was 'unusual' after daughter rushed to hospital, court hears

Elsie Scully-Hicks Credit: South Wales Police

A fitness instructor accused of murdering his 18-month-old adopted daughter was 'very calm' when she was being resuscitated, a court has heard.

Matthew Scully-Hicks denies murdering Elsie Scully-Hicks, who died on 29 May 2016, from a number of serious injuries.

Cardiff Crown Court heard that Scully-Hicks called 999 at 6.18pm on May 25, reporting that he had found the toddler unresponsive at home.

Paramedics and police arrived at the property at 6.26pm to find Elsie not breathing with no pulse.

Dr David Tuthill, a consultant paediatrician, attended to Elsie when she arrived at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

Matthew Scully-Hicks Credit: PA

I spoke with Matthew Scully-Hicks, trying to get a little more detail from him about what happened and said she was very unwell.

She had a minor cough or cold symptoms but no other major illness or anything that concerned him.

Elsie was having her nappy changed. He told me he had gone out into another room and came in and found her not breathing.

He started trying to resuscitate her. There was no history other than that.

– Dr David Tuthill

Dr Tuthill said he did not recall how long Scully-Hicks said he had been out of the room before returning to Elsie.

Craig Scully-Hicks arrived at the hospital around 30 to 45 minutes after Elsie was admitted and Dr Tuthill spoke to the parents.

He (Craig Scully-Hicks) was very tearful and upset.

My recollection of him (Matthew Scully-Hicks) was of him being very calm.

It was something, as I came back down to intensive care, that I said to my nurse practitioner. I said, 'that's strange - he was very calm'.

Most resuscitations, people are in tears. Parents are normally in floods of tears. It struck me as very unusual.

– Dr David Tuthill
Cardiff Crown Court Credit: PA

Dr Tuthill said he had not recorded Scully-Hicks' demeanour in the medical notes.

It was very strange and out of the ordinary.

People react in different ways. The common way when your child is being resuscitated and dying in front of you is to cry.

I'm a children's doctor, I'm not an adult psychiatrist, but I see a lot of parents and they are usually pretty upset.

– Dr David Tuthill

Robert O'Sullivan QC, representing Scully-Hicks, told the doctor:

Mr Scully-Hicks was anything but calm in the emergency department as he was watching his daughter's resuscitation.

– Robert O'Sullivan QC

Dr Tuthill replied, 'That wasn't my observation'.

Dr Nia John, a community paediatrician, spoke to Elsie's fathers at the hospital following her admission.

I remember explaining to them, because Craig in particular was asking how could this have happened?

I remember explaining that the usual mechanism of injury that we think of when we see the pattern of bleeding (on Elsie's brain) is shaking type injuries.

– Dr Nia John

The court heard Elsie was an average weight, with normal bone density and had a small circular bruise on her forehead when she was examined.

Craig Scully-Hicks described her as 'fabulous' to Dr John, and said she had been 'well' in the two weeks previously.

When asked whether Scully-Hicks appeared calm in hospital, Dr John said:

Matthew had been with Elsie and had been part of the process of bringing her to hospital.

For Craig, he had been away. He looked as if he was going to be sick. He looked pale, he looked dreadful.

Matthew looked upset obviously. I didn't come away from there thinking it was abnormal.

– Dr Nia John

Matthew Scully-Hicks denies the charges against him and the trial continues.

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