The Terrible Text Messages A Stay-At-Home Dad Sent About His 18-Month-Old Adopted Daughter Elsie Before He Allegedly Murdered Her

Photo: BBC
Matthew Scully-Hicks

She was killed just two weeks after the gay couple formally adopted her.

After being born to a drug-addicted mother, Elsie lived in foster care until she was adopted by gay couple Matthew and Craig Scully-Hicks in September of 2015 at just 10 months old. 

Though it seemed like things were looking up for the new family of three in Wales, Matthew was having a hard time adjusting to the life of a stay-at-home dad. A former part-time fitness instructor, he gave up his job to care for any children they might have. 

Eights months after Matthew and Craig got married, they completed their adoption process. Two weeks later, Elsie Scully-Hicks was dead. 

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According to Matthew, on May 25, 2016, he found Elsie in their home “floppy and limp.” She was taken to the University Hospital of Wales where she died four days later. 

The Guardian

Though Matthew denies having any involvement in his adopted child’s death, prosecutors say he took the frustration he had for his new life out on Elsie. 

"His actions on the late afternoon of May 25th were the tragic culmination of a course of violent conduct on his part towards a defenseless child - an infant that he should have loved and protected, but whom he instead assaulted, abused, and ultimately murdered,” said Prosecutor Paul Lewis QC. 

Lewis described to the court how Elsie had suffered hemorrhages to her brain and behind her eyes.

Tests revealed older signs of bleeding in her brain, and a post-mortem examination found she had suffered broken ribs, a fractured left femur, and a fractured skull. 

Matthew allegedly carried out these attacks while his husband Craig was at work. 

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More evidence that points to Matthew was found on his cell phone. In a series of text messages he sent to friends, the defendant described Elsie as a “psycho,” and said he was “going through hell.” 


"She has just screamed nonstop for 10 minutes. She had a full bottle and clean nappy. Literally, not even half an hour and she is a psycho.”

And in one particularly damning message he sent to his husband, he said Elsie was “Satan dressed up in a baby grow.”

Matthew pleaded not guilty to his one charge of murder, and his trial is expected to last for five weeks. 

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Emily Blackwood is an editor at YourTango who covers pop culture, true crime, dating, relationships and everything in between. Every Wednesday at 10:20 p.m. you can ask her any and all questions about self-love, dating, and relationships LIVE on YourTango’s Facebook page. You can follow her on Instagram (@blackw00d) and Twitter (@emztweetz).