But instead he shook her and then threw her to the ground, leaving his daughter fatally injured.In a 999 call at 6.18pm, he claimed: 'I was just changing my daughter for bed and she went all floppy and limp.'Paramedics arrived at 6.26pm and Elsie was taken to the University Hospital of Wales, where she died four days later.
The fracture to the skull was caused by an impact with a hard surface.'Her collapse would have swiftly followed, that having occurred you called the emergency services.'The judge added Scully-Hicks's case was aggravated by Elsie's vulnerability due to her age and an abuse of a position of trust.
She said: 'I am satisfied you inflicted injuries upon Elsie in November 2015 which caused the fractures to her leg and in December 15 the large bruise to her forehead.'You had, and were aware that you had, a predisposition to injure your adoptive daughter.
She said: 'In January 2015, I started proceedings in the family court to become the legal guardian for Shayla.'I wanted to bring her up in a happy, healthy and warm family environment, that was all taken away from me when social services and the family court decided I would not be able to cope.' The statement continued: 'We all continue to fight on even though every day we are numb with pain and hurt deep in the knowledge that Shayla was loved unconditionally by us all as a family and knowing that had she not been taken away from us, she would still be alive today.'The court heard in the weeks before her death, Elsie suffered a number of suspicious injuries including bruises and broken a leg after she had 'fallen down the stairs'.
And today, Scully-Hicks was emotionless when he was told he must serve a minimum of 18 years behind bars as Mrs Justice Davies said Elsie was a 'young, vulnerable and defenceless child'.
You told no one the truth of what had occurred nor the reason for it.'Regular visits were made by social workers and the health visitor.
To no one, not even your husband, did you have the courage to speak of your difficulties.'You put your own self-interest before that of the young child you had been entrusted to protect.'Scully-Hicks, who sobbed when he was convicted, denied murdering her but was yesterday found guilty by a jury after a four week trial.Tests showed she had suffered three separate areas of bleeding on her brain, bleeding in both eyes, a skull fracture and three rib fractures.Consultant paediatrician Dr Stephen Rose said Elsie's injuries could be explained by her being 'shaken violently'.Hours before the attack, Matthew Scully-Hicks had taken her shopping at Marks & Spencer for an outfit to wear at a party celebrating her adoption.He sent pictures of outfits at Marks & Spencer to his husband and purchased one for Elsie to wear.The judge also referred to text messages the defendant had sent describing Elsie's meal times and bed time as 'your worst nightmare'.