Gay fitness instructor Matthew Scully-Hicks, who with his husband Craig adopted a baby girl they named Elsie, has been found guilty of her murder and jailed for a minimum of 18 years.

I can’t bring myself to recount every detail of this poor little girl’s ordeal, but a chronology of events and the repeated trauma that Elsie suffered at the hands of her adoptive ‘father’ is outlined here.

A Serious Case Review is in the offing and already the apologists are out, keen to point out that this adoption, which ought never to have taken place, was a ‘rogue’ case. In other words, what happened was completely abnormal, unexpected and could not have been predicted. Or at least that’s what David Niven, former head of the British Association of Social Workers and chairman of two safeguarding boards in England, is claiming.

It seems as though Mr Niven has pre-empted the conclusions and findings of the Serious Case Review before it has even started, and rather than looking at the facts of the case, the review will, suggests Mr Niven, look at how people did, or did not, work together and missed the things that possibly should have been found.

One of the first things which ought to be looked at is the screening of this couple and whether or not they were subject to any positive bias on account of their sexuality and domestic situation, which perhaps led social workers to overlook any potential problems flagged up in the screening process. Many friends of mine have gone through the necessarily invasive process involved in applying to be accepted as potential adoptive parents. It is far from straightforward, every aspect of your life and psyche is scrutinised, and often prospective parents are turned down for the most minor of points.

Most couples are warned that it is unlikely that they will be able to adopt a baby of Elsie’s age, as tends to be the preference. Adopting a baby is hard and yet Matthew Scully-Hicks managed it with ease. Could this be because he was fast-tracked and, if so, why? What made these two men more suitable than a mother and father? In the case of adoption one is always trying to replace that which has been lost, i.e. a stable family unit. Given that every child has a mother, why did the social workers believe that Elsie somehow didn’t need one?

Going by many of the court transcripts it seems that Scully-Hicks was after a well-trained, good-looking pet, rather than a human baby with a unique personality and needs, especially a baby who, thanks to her traumatic beginning in life, was likely to have difficulties with attachment and to need extra reassurance.

Should we really be surprised that a man with no biological attachment to this child exhibited a stunning lack of maternal instinct? Looking after a baby can be tough, and everyone can reach the end of their tether at some point. However I doubt if you’d see a woman, especially one who had been desperate for a child of her own, take the time to refer repeatedly to the baby as a ‘Satan in a Babygro’ in text messages or talk about her as though she was possessed. In fact for someone who professed to want children, Scully-Hicks seemed utterly unprepared to exercise the self-sacrificial love required of a parent, becoming infuriated every time Elsie required his time or attention, or caused him inconvenience. Even the way Scully-Hicks described his desire for children ought to have rung alarm bells – it was all about what he and his husband as a couple wanted, rather than whether they could give a child what she needed.

On the day of Elsie’s death he was happy to go and pick her an outfit and pose in selfies, presenting a wonderful front to his friends and family on social media, but Scully-Hicks once again lost his rag when confronted with the dirty, everyday grind of parenting such as changing a nappy.

Elsie’s crimes were to prefer pudding to a savoury main course, not sleeping through the night, screaming uncontrollably (who can blame her? She probably picked up on the antipathy of a man who hypothesised that she was possessed, called her a diva, a brat and unprintable obscenities), and wanting a cuddle and a dummy and some attention when she woke up. In short, she was a normal baby, probably a bit crotchety thanks to teething and not having had the same adult carers throughout her short life, but none of her behaviour was abnormal for an 18-month-old, the age at which Matthew Scully-Hicks decided he’d had enough of her and killed her.

What the Serious Case Review ought to look at is why, months after Elsie had began to exhibit a series of injuries, the social worker who visited didn’t see fit to do any sort of follow-up or checks. Why did none of the string of medical officials who saw Elsie not notice that she had sustained a number of injuries, which would all have been listed on her record, and realise that here was a particularly vulnerable and at-risk child who did not have a mother or female maternal figure, and that additional monitoring was needed?

Why was Elsie’s birth grandmother, who was already caring for two siblings and was desperate to adopt her, denied the opportunity? Standard practice in fostering and adoption is to keep siblings together and within the birth family if at all possible, so why was her grandmother found unsuitable? Why was it deemed in Elsie’s best interests to remove her from the love and care of her birth family, which included her experienced grandmother and two older siblings?

Could it be that social workers already had this ‘perfect couple’ picked out? In a separate case, a Christian magistrate is appealing against a decision to ban him because he rejected a social worker’s claim that homosexual couples make better parents than heterosexual ones. Was the same ideological bias applied here?

How did Scully-Hicks, who was pathologically unsuited to parenthood, manage to gain approval to be put in charge of a vulnerable baby, and what was it about this couple which stopped the medical professionals from asking questions? Why did Cardiff council spend thousands of pounds on legal fees in an attempt to keep Scully-Hicks’s identity out of the media?

Questions about how agencies ought to have worked together are important, but if it is to get to the heart of the matter and prevent future tragedy, the Serious Case Review must ask some difficult and painful questions. Calling the case of little Elsie ‘rogue’ may appease certain political and ideological sensibilities, but it does nothing to ease the minds of her birth family or the more appropriate and experienced heterosexual couples waiting to adopt and within whose care Elsie would have flourished and still been alive today.


  1. Despite what conservatives believe about the gay lifestyle, to cast aspersions based on one case is a little dubious. Raising questions is fine of course, especially about the lack of maternal instinct in male couples, but I would be careful with using this single case (and hopefully the last).

    My first question was whether Matthew Scully-Hicks used mind altering substances.

  2. I think your answers as to why they found this process so easy are something to do with the boyfriend, who seems to have been contracted in some way by the council in some sort of training skills program. And also, where is this boyfriend now and why did he appear to the court in video-link ? I hoped that these answers would come out post-trial, but nothing.

    • In my experience the video link would reflect that the witness had cause to fear the defendant. I suspect there are issues of domestic violence/abuse involved.

      • And if both of these things were the case, i.e.Craig Scully-Hicks having a connection with the Council and being a victim of domestic abuse, why on earth were these not picked up by screening? Was there some kind of ideological bias at play? That’s what should be asked, but probably won’t be.

        One thing that shocked me is why no alarm bells were rung in the mind of Craig Scully-Hicks when he received text messages describing the baby as a ‘diva, possessed, attention-seeking’ and heard him call her all manner of profanities. Surely he must have realised that this was both unreasonable and abnormal, not to mention frightening.

        If my husband did that to any of our children, I’d pick them up and run!

        • here he is,
          seems to be disappearing fast from the internet though form last time I look, one might think someone is removing content. I think this was picked up by screening and it resulted in a massive green ‘yes’ tick
          I didnt consider that domestic abuse might be a cause of the video link, I thought that he might be in custody himself. Though just speculating.

      • The statistics show there is a greater incidence of domestic violence within homosexual couples, with the greatest incidence being in Lesbian couples.


  3. I have often told my wife that she should run our business for a while and I look after our 7 children. She would probably run it better than me.

    She laughs and tells me that I would not last a week as little kids need their mum and goes on to say that she is doing the most important job of being there for our children.

    She is right of course I am quite a hands on dad but I am not temperamentally suited to looking after small children. Most men are simply not wired that way.

    I constantly get the feeling that many in alternative parenting relationships want more than kindnesses and respect from those that disagree that their relationship is the best for raising children. They want to be justified. However as we have seen, They will eventually always insist the kindness and respect equates to telling them they are right and that any evidence or discussion to the contrary is not tolerated

    • Women are physically equipped to look after new born babies. And emotionally as well, otherwise they wouldn’t do it, would they ?

      At what point and why do these ‘experts’ think that all of a sudden this nurturing function, determined by nature over Aeons of time, can and should be replaced by men? Is there a sudden switch over point where breasts and feminine qualities are no longer of any importance?

      Last time I looked, men don’t have breasts. Nor do they have the soft voices which ‘smile’ that women do. They have comparatively harsh voices which are liable to scare or unsettle a baby. Scared little monkeys will rush to cling on to what’s soft, not what’s hard and unyielding.

      Nor do men have the caring, fussing qualities designed to ensure an infants welfare. Not for nothing is a fussy, over cautious man described sometimes as ‘an old woman’.

      Truly, the Cult of Equality has a lot to answer for

      • But since Scully-Hicks had a “husband”, presumably he – and those idiots who handed over a little child into his tender loving care – assumed that he had sufficient “motherly” qualities for the job.

        That’s political correctness for you.

    • Re: ‘most men not wired that way’: I chose never to have children upon reaching thirty, I realised I didn’t actually want any or have the slightest longing for them. I don’t regret it, my life has been full and not having them has afforded me the opportunity of time and finance to travel the world, to ‘experiment’ with jobs. I regret never finding ‘Mrs. Right’, but my ‘no kids’ attitude thwarted that ambition.

      I have found over the years when talking to dads, perhaps because they know my ‘policy’ and feel free to say it without fear of judgement or recrimination, that some will say, “I love my kids, but if I had my time again…” and trail off, wistfully. I am of the opinion it is always the mothers who are the prime driving force in having children.

      I dont suggest men/male parents don’t want them, just that they are not as bothered about it as women. It’s a sizeable discussion, but I have yet to meet the father who does not conform to this to some degree.

  4. The UK has the most unfair divorce system in the world biased in favour of women. (Before anyone quips in about the Arab world it’s biased in favour of men!). Women from all over the world travel to the UK to avail themselves of this unfair system safe in the knowledge that our courts will fleece their husbands of every penny regardless of the spouses value to the marriage.

    For the poor sods with less money our fine courts have given women more than the total marital assets leaving the poor husband to work as a slave the rest of his life often without sufficient funds to feed himself, and inevitably some have taken their own lives as a result.

    The justification for all this is that children need their mothers, and whilst the marital causes act says the courts first priority must be the children, the devious greedy weasels have got round this by avering that what is good for mum is good for the kids.

    So, if all this is true, and I have to say I’ve never heard a Feminazi or Social Justice Warrior complain, then surely the same must apply to same sex marriages and adoption? If not then the state is guilty of an enormous double standard, where when it suits, it takes one position, and when it doesn’t suit, takes the contrary position.

  5. I can only imagine the attitude the other prisoners are going to have toward this guy. I hope he is terrified.

        • I can’t resist modifying a joke; In prison, he encounters some graffitti on a wall saying: ‘At a loss? This Way to Success’, and a arrow pointing to his right.. He walks on, on the floor is scrawled; ‘Continue on to Success’. he finds a ladder propped up against a wall, a note saying: ‘Climb the Ladder to Success’. He does so, at the top is a mountain of a black man, naked, who smiles and says, “Hi, I’m Cess’.

    • I catch a train from the railway station that is behind Cardiff prison. We often hear the rabid and obscene shouting of the prisoners, often aimed at passengers on the platform. if that’s where he’s going then he’s in for a hard time; no worse than what he did to poor elsie though.

      • Thank you for using the correct term ‘railway station’; a small victory, but a important one over ‘train station’. Now, is there any chance any BBC/TV reporters/interviewers/presenters will read this?

    • Don’t know about yours, but in an American prison, in about two weeks he’d be begging for solitary. There’s an old term ODC (ordinary decent criminal) that covers the thieves and such, and they don’t deal any better with this stuff than we do, and have less to lose.

  6. My wife and I adopted three children, a baby girl, and six years later two young brothers.
    Both involved two years of purgatory from social workers who subjected us first to indifference, then to intrusive, repetitive, unannounced inspections and demands to attend ‘meetings’. I, a chartered accountant, my wife, PA to a FTSE100 chairman, could cheerfully have shot every social worker and then eaten a hearty breakfast.
    This was forty and thirty-five years ago. It must be ten times worse now.

    • I take my hat off to you.

      And yes, it is more than ten times worse. A social worker told me that whereas it used to be the case that ‘an Englishman’s house is his castle’, the government no longer agrees with that and insists ‘it’ has the right to enter people’s homes and do whatever ‘it’ wants to do. He failed to see why I was horrified; he almost thought that my horror was sufficient justification for the government’s point of view.

      • Thank you.
        My daughter has rewarded me with beautiful twin grandsons. So it was all worthwhile but at times . . . . .

      • i agree with the ‘castle’ doctrine, however, for argument’s sake, all of that would not matter as if it was used to target the, well, obvious targets, i.e. those that have been complained about, or are reasonably suspected, but just like airport and other security measures, they abuse the rights they’ve given themselves and target everyone for fear of ‘profiling’ or being viewed as a ‘ism’ or a ‘phobic’ – white heterosexuals have no recourse to such ‘protections’.

    • Most of us do. I stopped watching BBC’s ‘Only Connect’ after a male contestant – prompted by a remark from the host, Victoria Coren-Mitchell, began to refer to his ‘husband’ – what has that to do with being part of a quiz show? it just turned my stomach.

      Same when I saw what were obviously men pretending to be women on ‘University Challenge’, complete with ‘Adam’s Apples’ the size of chestnuts, masculine face and deep voice, one of whom kept trying to raise it a pitch or two but often failed when answering under pressure. I hate it all, I cannot come to terms with it; I will have to tolerate it, because it looks as though the genies are out of their bottles, but they keep encroaching evermore into my ‘face’, and I’m angry about that.

    • For some years the term ‘Partner’ has been foisted on us by the ‘Right-ons’ in an attempt to render heterosexual marriage an anachronism.


      …Homosexual marriage became a legal entity. Suddenly marriage was the hip, right-on, with-it, in-thing. Provided you were homosexual. The BBC positively with women using a crowbar to get in mention of their wives, men of their husbands.


      • I pointed this out at school. Pre-2014, ‘marriage’ was not allowed to be mentioned in PSHE etc because it was upsetting for children from unmarried/broken families; teachers were only allowed to talk about ‘stable relationships’ as the ultimate aspiration.

        Post-2014, schools were expected to talk about marriage….our primary teachers were naive enough not to see the connection.

  7. We don’t have tsunamis or earthquakes or wars or famines, all of which deprive children of their natural parents. We don’t have epidemics like Spanish flu. We have a Welfare State.

    Yet this ‘civilised’ western country produces so many children that need adopting!

  8. I don’t trust any social workers.
    Some forty or so years ago, my younger daughter decided that she didn’t want to go on a school holiday trip to Austria (strange in itself as she was studying French at school). We told the school that we couldn’t afford it as to say she didn’t want to go would have put pressure on her by the school.
    Somehow this got back to a social worker who discovered that my wife was a “stay at home” mother. She promptly visited her and accused her of neglecting our daughter by failing to go out to work in order to pay for her “wants”. My wife responded that we paid for all her “needs” but the woman couldn’t understand the difference. She claimed that our daughter could be taken into care because we were neglecting her. I had to rush home from work to a tearful wife to find out what it was all about. Fortunately, someone at the top had somewhat more common sense and withdrew the threat, but we never got an apology.

    • Four years ago, an acquaintance’s 16-year-old daughter was noticed by a teacher as a ‘bit upset’. It was when it had become apparent that her parents’ marriage was on the rocks. The teacher sent her to the school counsellor who, without knowing anything about the family at all, simply told the girl that ‘they’ could provide accommodation for her and that she ought to consider it. It smelt to me like a deliberate attempt to get the girl into ‘care’, whether or not that was the best thing for her and heedless of the expense to the taxpayer.

      • Fortunately a long while ago with no real consequences.
        But I think that it illustrates an attitude of mind. Personally I believe that no-one should be a child social worker unless they are married and have children of their own and preferably also have grandchildren.

  9. Having followed this case in the media I was wondering if TCW would pick it up. i’m very glad it has. I am certain the investigation will avoid asking the important question about the appropriateness and the safety of allowing homosexual male couples to adopt such young children, especially girls. I feel certain the ease with which this man was able to adopt was down to his sexuality – a bit of virtue-signalling by the authorities. Political correctness has gone from being a toxic culture to being a lethal one. Still, nobody in authority will have the courage to challenge it, so tragically thre will probably be more Elsies. In my view, men lack the gentle and patient maternal instinct needed to nurture young children. how much longer are we going to sacrifice children on the altars of “equality” and “diversity”? I also think that his 18 year sentence is too lenient given the brutality of the murder. Was the sentencing also influenced by his sexuality?

  10. If you read the newspaper accounts, there’s me thing missing, references to and pictures of Craig Scully- Hicks.

    Question is why?

    There were two parents and he must have seen Elsie’s injuries and read the texts.

    This strange exclusion may explain why this adoption seems to have been fast- tracked.

  11. You’re wasting your time. The state believes that it’s OK to constructively deprive a baby of a mother for life. The state has been captured by sick and depraved people with a sick and depraved agenda and they are happy to sacrifice children to that agenda, indeed that is the entire reason they have captured the state in the first place.

    People who actually believe that men like this should be adopting children are well beyond any point of apology, or self-reflection, or case review. They are beyond the pale. They crossed the rubicon of ordered, healthy and decent humanity long, long, long ago. Long ago. They made a conscious decision to cross over to the dark side. They have embraced evil, and frankly, unless you believe in evil and in the devil himself, you literally cannot understand anything that is happening to our society today. Nothing. Not SSM, not abortion, not transgenderism. Nothing.

    This is a pathocracy. From left to right, from top to bottom, from back to front. From Conservative to Labour, from Whitehall to the Town hall.

    This is not political debate, or party politics. This is spiritual warfare, out and out spiritual warfare. Blog all you like, but at this point in time, frankly, there is little left to do but pray, to pray that we can raise up happy children, deeply rooted in faith and hope, to be lights in the darkness, lifeboats on a storm, a maelstrom of chaos and death.

    That is all we can do.

  12. “Could this be because he was fast-tracked”
    I remember discussing the likelihood of this happening at the time the homosexual “marriage” legislation was being enacted. Sadly, it has come to pass; not even equality, but priority.

    • True. I knew a perfectly respectable married couple who sensed after a time that the reason they kept being turned down as adoptive parents was because they were, well, normal. Same-sex couples seemed to get the children all the time.

  13. Media reports that I read and heard failed to mention Scully-Hick’s partner. I would have presumed that he had been given the girl to adopt as a single person, had I not known the media’s tendency to hide the truth. Now I know what they were trying to hide. Shameful.

  14. Never mind. Lessons won’t be learned and the state funded manufacture of unwanted children will continue unabated.

  15. Can people/authors please stop using the term ‘gay’? There is no such recognisable condition – they are ‘homosexuals’. Using their preferred euphemism only reinforces their ‘movement’ and it is beginning to spill over into offialdom and their documents. ‘Homosexual’ does not sound as friendly and cuddly as ‘gay’, which is good because I don’t find the idea of homosexuality as either.

  16. How many other couples were approved in the Vale of Glamorgan at the same time the Scully-Hicks were chosen for Elsie? I cannot imagine how angry the birth family are but also other prospective baby adopters who were not deemed as ‘good’ as the S-Hicks and who maybe never ended up getting the chance to adopt a baby,as they are so rare in the adoption world .And I read that they had another adopted child also,although I do not know the exact circumstances of this adoption.However even worse that staff weren’t concerned about Elsie’s accidents if he had 2 toddlers to chase after.

  17. I’ve come to the conclusion after reading a few of these cases that the only way to cure it, given the givens, is by making the (at least lead) social worker (Brit terms may be different) but all who come in contact, ideally, criminally liable, for such results. Accessory to murder, is perhaps too far, but criminally negligent resulting in death seems to me to be prima facie proved. They were responsible, the child was murdered on their watch. Enough is far too much. A few doctors and social workers sitting in prison oul go far to inject a bit of reality. Better to hang them, of course, but being guilty, instead of innocent, they are sacrosanct.

    • “The State” seems to want full control of our children, but when things go catastrophically wrong it washes its hands of them.

  18. To deprive a child of a mother or at least an adoptive mother, or grandmother should be a crime. If a father is left alone with a child he does his best with the aid of family.
    Two men cannot provide maternal care. Their thought processes and bonding structures are different.
    The best place for children is with their natural parents, second best is with a family member and third is with a mother and father team of adoptive parents.
    There is a male couple who run a surrogacy business who have five children. God weeps for these children.

  19. Any future chance of this happening could be prevented, or at least reduced, in one stroke; no adoption available to homosexual and lesbian singles or couples. I don’t care how un-p.c. that is, I prefer things the way they were, for all its faults. A child deserves a mother and father, not a social experiment.

    • As a social liberal my position is this & has been for 40 years.
      1. Homosexual civil partnerships. A great idea that discourages reckless promiscuity
      2. Homosexual marriage. No One hundred times no.
      3 Homosexual adoption of children. The same. Children are not pets & deserve adoption
      by loving married, or similar, couples.

      • As someone who reluctantly tolerates homosexuality, but abhors the practice, I’d agree with that – but civil partnerships must not be referred to as ‘marriages’, nor must ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ be used.

  20. Totally agree with you. Looks very much as if this couple were not really suitable but got over the line because they were Gay. The child deserved better.

  21. I do find it mystifying why Cardiff Council would pay thousands of pounds to keep the identity of the perpetrator secret. Particularly when the council has stated that it had no involvèment in any part of this case involving the removal and forced adoption of the murdered child.

    Odd that, init?


  22. Why do you refer to Scully Hicks’s live in fellow homosexual as his “husband?” A man cannot have a husband. Little Elsie was handed over to two sodomites by a wicked depraved Social Services. It is a fact that homosexuals are more likely to abuse children than heterosexuals, 40 times more likely, in fact. The case of little Elsie has all the indicators of a possible forced adoption ie a forced adoption of a stolen child. The Cardiff Social Services should have been in the dock alongside the monstrous Scully Hicks.

  23. There is much public disquiet about this dreadful case. There should be a court of inquiry under a judge and every witness under oath. Then we might get to the truth. If there is evidence of state and council incompetence then charges need to follow and justice done.

  24. Just a little update. According to several press reports, some of which have now been censored from google, although there is one in the Guardian, Elsie had an adopted sibling in the care of Scully-Hicks and his partner, which I was unaware of when I wrote this blog.

    This could be one of the reasons for privacy. I hope that this child who must have witnessed some of the horror, compounding to the trauma they would have already experienced, is now safe.

    I also read that it is no longer considered ’empathetic parenting’ to change the name of an adopted child, unless there is a compelling reason, such as security, to do so. The fact that the child’s name was changed from “Shayla” to a more middle-class “Elsie”, speaks to a potential view of the child as an accessory. This change of name would have proved traumatic for a child, who was being visited once a week by her grandmother and would have been called by her birth name until the adoption.

    I also should have posited that the baby’s screaming could have down to the pain from previous injuries.

    What I hope that the Serious Case Review examines is the potential bias whether that be Craig Scully Hick’s connections with the Council (he was outsourced by them to provide services for disabled users) or the couple’s supposedly perfect domestic situation which may have stopped officials from carrying out the normal checks or dulled any latent suspicions.

    The other thing to bear in mind is that usually when abuse of this type takes place, the female partner of the male perpetrator is prosecuted for neglect or demonised in the press. This has been absent in the case of Craig Scully-Hicks, though one has to wonder why alarm bells didn’t ring when his daughter was sustaining a catalogue of injuries and his partner was clearly struggling to cope. If my husband texted me such terrible things about my baby, I would gather up my children and run!

    • I think the problem, Caroline, is that a normal, happy person like you can scarcely begin to understand what goes on in minds of men like these. You almost literally couldn’t imagine. One of the most terrifying conversations I had, many years ago, was with a “gay” man. I didn’t imagine such darkness could exist in the human soul. That single conversation turned me very rapidly from someone who had hitherto been quite well known as a “gay friendly” person who had shared flats with many gay men, into someone who understood something quite troubling could lurk behind the facade.

      I don’t want to tar all gay men with that brush, but I think people need to realise that in many cases homosexuality is a manifestation of a very troubled person.

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