1. ITV Report

Elsie Scully-Hicks described by accused as 'diva', court told

Matthew Scully-Hicks is accused of murdering Elsie Scully-Hicks Credit: Wales News Service/ PA/ South Wales Police

A fitness instructor accused of murdering his adopted toddler daughter, whom he described as 'Satan' and a 'diva' in text messages, told police she was a happy child, a court has heard.

Matthew Scully-Hicks is on trial at Cardiff Crown Court accused of killing Elsie Scully-Hicks, who was 18 months old when she died in May 2016.

Elsie had been formally adopted by Scully-Hicks, 31, and his husband Craig, 36, two weeks before she was rushed to hospital on May 25, after collapsing at home and suffering a cardiac arrest.

The toddler was found to be suffering from three separate areas of subdural bleeding, retinal bleeding in both eyes, a skull fracture and fractures to three ribs and her leg.

The prosecution case is that all of the injuries were inflicted on Elsie, who died on May 29, shortly before her admission to hospital by Scully-Hicks, who denies murder.

A series of medical experts have said the injuries were likely to have been caused by shaking.

On Monday, the jury was read a number of text messages between Scully-Hicks and his husband and friends.

In one, Scully-Hicks said:

I'm going through hell with Elsie.

Mealtimes and bedtimes are like my worst nightmare at the minute.

She has been up there screaming for 10 minutes non-stop.

She's just stopped but I doubt that's the last I'll hear tonight.

– Matthew Scully-Hicks

In a message to his husband, Scully-Hicks described Elsie as 'Satan dressed up in a babygro' and then added:

Elsie has had two nights of being Satan.

– Matthew Scully-Hicks

The couple then joked about 'calling a priest' for Elsie if she did not stop behaving like Satan, the court heard.

Cardiff Crown Court Credit: PA

He sent another message to his husband, who the court heard was away for work regularly, saying he felt 'ready to explode, it has been a difficult few days'.

Another message read:

It's a long-standing issue.

She wakes up at regular intervals during the night.

She just wants to be given her dummy and attention but she has a proper diva strop about it all!

We think someone used to bring her downstairs in the middle of the night which we don't do.

– Matthew Scully-Hicks

Scully-Hicks was formally interviewed by police on 23 June 2016 and transcripts of the interview were read to the jury.

Asked about Elsie's behaviour, Scully-Hicks told the officers that she was vocal about the things she wanted and would 'whinge' for them. When asked about how he coped caring for Elsie, he said:

I never felt like it was consuming me where I thought I could not cope.

– Matthew Scully-Hicks

Scully-Hicks, from Delabole, Cornwall, added:

She was very happy ... overall she was a happy little girl.

– Matthew Scully-Hicks

The court previously heard Elsie fractured her right leg in two places in November 2015 and suffered bruises to her head in December and January 2016.

On March 10, she was taken to the University Hospital of Wales after falling down the stairs.

The court previously heard Elsie's injuries in May were consistent with her being 'shaken violently' and having her head 'rocked backwards and forwards so that her head was flexed down onto her chest and flexed backwards'.

Scully-Hicks denies one charge of murder.

The trial, expected to last five weeks, continues.

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