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30-Sep-2019 21:40

"It went beyond anything I had ever experienced before, in instinct I thought 'this was something different our lives are being threatened'." Witnesses said they had noticed the girls "because they seemed to be the only females in the area".

The birth family of tragic 18-month-old girl Elsie Scully-Hicks have said she would 'still be alive today' if she had not been taken away from them as her adoptive father was jailed for life for murdering her.

Another witness Alan Brookes said he saw the sisters "sweating profusely" and "seemed to be having difficulty breathing".

He told the inquest: "I presume they had gone down, they wasn't there.

Speaking on behalf of the family, her birth grandmother Sian O'Brien said: 'I accept that at the time of giving birth my daughter was living a chaotic lifestyle and was not in a position to care for Shayla and she was removed from the hospital five days after birth by social services.'As a family, we continued to have contact with Shayla whilst she was in the care of the foster family.'Ms O'Brien said all of Elsie's family were 'extremely attached to her and loved her very much'.

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'.

The birth family of tragic 18-month-old girl Elsie Scully-Hicks have said she would 'still be alive today' if she had not been taken away from them as her adoptive father was jailed for life for murdering her.

Another witness Alan Brookes said he saw the sisters "sweating profusely" and "seemed to be having difficulty breathing".

He told the inquest: "I presume they had gone down, they wasn't there.

Speaking on behalf of the family, her birth grandmother Sian O'Brien said: 'I accept that at the time of giving birth my daughter was living a chaotic lifestyle and was not in a position to care for Shayla and she was removed from the hospital five days after birth by social services.'As a family, we continued to have contact with Shayla whilst she was in the care of the foster family.'Ms O'Brien said all of Elsie's family were 'extremely attached to her and loved her very much'.

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'.

He added that she had "wonderfully long dark black hair" adding she was a "a lovely girl who could charm the monkeys out of the trees".