Baby was killed by adoptive dad after social workers showed ‘lack of professional curiosity’ Tanveer MannThursday 2 Aug 2018 1:51 pm Share this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via google 16 SHARES There were too many ‘opportunities missed’ in the care of a baby murdered by her adoptive father, an official report has revealed today. Elsie Scully-Hicks, 18 months, was put in the care of fitness instructor Matthew Scully-Hicks, 31, but died just two weeks after being adopted. Scully-Hicks and his male partner were viewed as ‘very positive parents’ for little Elsie after she was taken away from her drug addict natural mother. But the report revealed her injuries including bruises to her head and a broken leg were dismissed as just ‘childhood accidents’ by social workers and she was left to die with her adoptive father. Elsie Scully-Hicks, 18 months, was put in the care of fitness instructor Matthew Scully-Hicks, 31, but died just two weeks after being adopted (Picture: PA) Scully-Hicks described the child as a ‘psycho’, the ‘Exorcist’ and ‘Satan dressed up in a baby grow’ in messages as he struggled to cope with the baby. Armed police swoop on bride’s house after neighbour mistakes wedding dress for body The report from the Cardiff and Vale Regional Safeguarding Children Board was made after Scully-Hicks was jailed for life with a minimum of 18 years for battering his ‘vulnerable and defenceless’ adopted baby daughter to death. He abused Elsie over seven months before violently shaking her and banging her head on a hard surface. A judge told him he was should have ‘protected and cared’ for Elsie but instead murdered her and showed no remorse. The baby died just two weeks after she was formally adopted by fitness instructor Scully-Hicks and his company director husband Craig, 36, who often worked away. Matthew Scully-Hicks and his partner were viewed as ‘very positive parents’ for little Elsie after she was taken away from her drug addict natural mother (Picture: PA) An investigation into social services’ handling of the Scully-Hicks case was launched after it emerged social workers visited the family home up to 15 times in the year before Elsie’s death. Scully-Hicks denied murdering little Elsie but was found guilty by a jury after a four-and-a-half week trial at Cardiff Crown Court. The trial heard Elsie suffered a catalogue of injuries when she was alone at home with stay-at-home dad Scully-Hicks. He then murdered her after a fatal attack at the family home in Llandaff, Cardiff, on May 25 last year. Elsie’s adoption was overseen by the Vale of Glamorgan Council – and senior figures were quizzed over their handling of Scully-Hicks case. The Child Practice Review it was a ‘tragic and untimely death of a child’ who had been involved with social services since being born to a drug-using mother. A report revealed her injuries including bruises to her head and a broken leg were dismissed as just ‘childhood accidents’ by social workers (Picture: Wales News Service) But it said that the officials handling her adoption could not have predicted that she would be murdered by Scully-Hicks. It said: ‘There was no information during the assessment stages of the parents that could or would have predicted what happened to this child. Horse rider turned away by McDonald’s drive-thru despite craving a Big Mac ‘The assessment of them as adoptive parents was strong and robust and was compliant with good practice standards.’ It said Scully-Hicks and his partner were ‘perceived to be very positive parents for this child.’ The report said: ‘Given how strongly this view was held, the injuries that the child sustained were never considered as anything other than childhood accidents. ‘Adoption is a positive outcome for almost every child. It is extremely rare for any child placed for adoption to be harmed by their parents. Elsie was seen many times by social workers and adoption officers in her short life (Picture: Wales News Service) ‘The parents, their extended family nor any of the professionals working with the child had recognised any concerns regarding possible harm. ‘There were no reports to children’s services of any such concern. As a result there is a lack of professional curiosity regarding the child’s experiences and injuries.’ But it revealed how little Elsie was seen many times by social workers and adoption officers in her short life. Man with speech impediment ‘kicked out’ of Wetherspoons because staff thought he was drunk It said: ‘The child was not invisible to agencies at any time. The parents did not indicate at any stage that they were struggling to care for this child and did not require any additional support services. ‘It is evident that during the child’s placement with the parents the child was seen on many occasions by several professionals within the agencies.’ It hit out at errors by not flagging up injuries suffered by Elsie before her death. The report states: ‘The omission of identifying the second fracture to the child’s upper leg on the X-ray was a missed opportunity to raised safeguarding concerns and instigate child protection procedures. ‘The observations and recording of the large bruise to the child’s forehead both by children’s services and health was absent. ‘This resulted in the large bruise becoming “invisible” to professionasl and did not form part of building an overal picture of what was happenign to the child before the final report to the court prior to the adoption order hearing being made. MORE: UK Man stabbed three times ‘out of nowhere’ in the street in Leeds Powerful testimony from Grenfell firefighter who lied to mother he knew would die Man dies after choking on his steak at Wetherspoons ‘There is always learning to be gained and this case is no different. ‘Some new information and the learning from it has been gained from other proceedings primarily through the criminal trial. The conclusion is that there are some systems and practices that should be improved.’ When he was jailed Scully-Hicks looked on emotionless as Judge Mrs Justice Nicola Davies told him he had been ‘entrusted to protect and care’ for Elsie – but instead murdered her. Elsie was even rushed to hospital after vomiting blood – but Scully-Hicks claimed she had fallen down the stairs.
Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2018/08/02/baby-killed-adoptive-dad-social-workers-