Matthew Scully-Hicks, 31, is accused of killing 18-month old Elsie after 'assaulting and abusing' her over several months. Cardiff Crown Court heard Scully-Hicks had formally adopted Elsie with his husband, Craig Scully-Hicks, just two weeks earlier. The defendant gave up work to be a full-time dad, while his husband continued his job as a company director.

The court heard that Wales Ambulance Service received a 999 call from Scully-Hicks at about 6.20pm on May 25, reporting that Elsie was unresponsive. She received first aid from the paramedics before being taken to the University Hospital of Wales, where she died in the early hours of May 29.

Medical tests at the hospital found Elsie had suffered bilateral subdural haemorrhages – bleeding on both sides of her brain. There was evidence of both recent and older bleeding in her brain.

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Haemorrhages were also found in front of both of Elsie’s eyes. A post-mortem examination revealed that Elsie had also suffered several broken ribs, a fractured left femur and a fractured skull.

The part-time fitness instructor denies murdering the child at the couple's home in Cardiff but he gave differing accounts of how Elsie suffered the injury to his husband and to doctors.

Scully-Hicks had suggested to friends he was "struggling to cope". In one text message he said Elsie was "having a proper diva strop about it all, which is annoying", and in another he said she had "another diva strop at teatime".
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He also wrote: "I'm going through hell with Elsie! Mealtimes and bedtimes are like my worst nightmare at the minute. "She's been up there screaming for ten minutes non-stop. She's just stopped but I doubt that's the last I'll hear tonight." In another message he described Elsie as "a psycho". Asked by a friend how his day had been, he replied: "Yo yo well on the whole it was ok.. Minus lunch and tea time when she turned into Satan. Then again at bedtime she screamed in her cot for ten minutes."

Scully-Hicks is said to have messaged his husband Craig and described Elsie as "Satan dressed up in a baby grow!!!". Neighbours also described hearing Elsie crying and Scully-Hicks shouting "shut up, shut up, shut the f*** up", the court heard. On one occasion he allegedly shouted at the child: "Shut up you little f***ing brat", and: "Shut up you silly little c***

The trial continues at Cardiff crown court.

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