Mur­dered girl’s gran backs calls for re­view into forced adop­tion

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THE bi­o­log­i­cal grand­mother of lit­tle Elsie Scully-Hicks has backed a pe­ti­tion call­ing for a re­view into forced adop­tion and fos­ter­ing.

Sian O’Brien, 51, told the Sun, that killer Matthew Scully-Hicks had “got off lightly” for his crime.

Af­ter a court or­der ban­ning 18-month-old Elsie’s birth fam­ily from speak­ing out was lifted, Ms O’Brien said she was dev­as­tated not to be given the chance to adopt her grand­daugh­ter, who was orig­i­nally named Shayla, her­self.

Ms O’Brien, who looks af­ter Elsie’s two older sib­lings, told The Sun: “It’s about jus­tice for Shayla. I think he [Scully-Hicks] has got off quite lightly.”

Elsie was taken into care in Novem­ber 2014 when she was just five days old.

A pe­ti­tion, which has more than 4,500 sig­na­tures, calls on the Gov­ern­ment to stage an in­quiry into forced adop­tion and fos­ter­ing.

The fam­ily has now launched le­gal ac­tion against so­cial ser­vices in Cardiff.

Ms O’Brien said: “I said to so­cial ser­vices, ‘I’ve got Shayla’s brother and sis­ter here with me, why can’t I have Shayla?’

Scully-Hicks, 31, as­saulted and abused 18-month-old Elsie over seven months be­fore he vi­o­lently shook her to death.

The jury of nine men and three women came back with a unan­i­mous ver­dict.

The tod­dler died just two weeks af­ter she was for­mally adopted by fit­ness in­struc­tor Scully-Hicks and his hus­band Craig, 36.

Scully-Hicks de­nied mur­der­ing lit­tle Elsie but was found guilty by a jury af­ter a four-week trial.

Cardiff Crown Court heard the young­ster suf­fered a string of in­juries when she was alone with stay-at-home dad Scully-Hicks.

Pros­e­cu­tor Paul Lewis QC said Elsie was found un­re­spon­sive by paramedics af­ter Scully-Hicks at­tacked her at his home in Llandaff, Cardiff, on May 25 last year.

She died at Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal of Wales, Cardiff, af­ter doc­tors de­cided she would not sur­vive her trau­matic head in­juries.

In a vic­tim im­pact state­ment re­leased af­ter sen­tenc­ing, Ms O’Brien said that they were only told about Elsie’s death in Jan­uary this year – seven months af­ter she had died.

She said: “In it­self this was dev­as­tat­ing news but to then be in­formed that one of the par­ents who had adopted her had been charged with mur­der and was al­legedly re­spon­si­ble for her death was com­pletely in­com­pre­hen­si­ble.

“A per­son who had been deemed by the au­thor­i­ties to be a fit and proper per­son to bring up my grand­daugh­ter was re­spon­si­ble for her death, and they took her from me telling me I would be un­able to cope.”

She added that they had never given up hope of be­ing re­united with Elsie.

Elsie Scully-Hicks was mur­dered by her adop­tive dad

Matthew Scully-Hicks

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