Toddler death dad shouted ‘shut up you brat’

The adoptive father of Elsie Scully-Hicks repeatedly shouted “shut up” at the toddler in the months before her alleged murder, a court has heard.

Matthew Scully-Hicks, a 31-year-old fitness instructor, is accused of inflicting serious injuries on the toddler before her death in May 2016.

He denies murdering Elsie at the home he shared with husband Craig Scully-Hicks, in Llandaff, Cardiff.

The couple moved to the property the month before the youngster died, Cardiff Crown Court was told, having previously lived in the Fairwater area of the city.

Susan Bevan, who lived next door to the couple in Fairwater, told the jury: “I would hear her (Elsie) crying.

“On one occasion he was frustrated, saying ‘Shut up, shut up, shut up’. It would be ‘Shut the f*** up’ sometimes.

“It appeared to be exasperated, frustrated – as you would if a baby had been crying a lot.”

She said she had called Matthew Scully-Hicks “the one who stayed at home” while she referred to his husband as “the one who went to work”.

The court was previously told that Scully-Hicks had stopped working full-time to care for Elsie.

Mrs Bevan added: “I do remember one occasion where the baby was crying a lot and, from a mother’s point of view, it sounded like a proper cry.

“He said ‘Shut up, shut up, shut the f*** up’. I remember thinking ‘That sounds like a colicky pain, I don’t think he realises the baby is in pain’.”

Image:Matthew Scully-Hicks in February 2017

She added that she never heard the sound of a child being hit, or screaming out, and had “no reason” to be worried about Elsie.

Mrs Bevan’s son, James, told the court he could hear some of what was going on through his bedroom wall.

He said: “I heard a contained tantrum – it was like ‘argh’. It was an adult’s voice, followed by the baby crying. As the baby was still crying I would hear the door slam.”

He added that on one occasion between February and April 2016: “The baby was crying. I heard the one who stayed at home shout ‘Shut up, you little f****** brat’.”

Mr Bevan said he then heard loud music that played for one song, before the sound of the baby crying again.

After which: “The one who stayed at home repeatedly said ‘Shut up, shut up, shut up’ over and over again.”

He said he had heard similar incidents “maybe once a week” but that only the two he described stuck in his mind.

Elsie was removed from her natural mother within days of her birth in November 2014.

She went to live with the Matthew and Craig Scully-Hicks in September 2015 and was formally adopted by the couple two weeks before she died.

A 27-minute-long emergency call from Matthew Scully-Hicks made on 25 May 2016 was played to the jury.

He was heard saying: “Elsie, Elsie, come on, stay awake, stay awake, stay awake, babe, come on.”

Matthew Scully-Hicks claimed Elsie had fallen down the stairs after a wooden stair gate accidentally opened when she pulled herself up on it.

Examinations at the hospital found Elsie had suffered bleeding on both sides of her brain.

A post-mortem revealed she had also suffered several broken ribs, a fractured left femur and a fractured skull.

She died at the hospital on 29 May. The trial continues.