26/09/2018 15:35 BST

Mylee Billingham Murder Trial: Father Appears In Court With Bandaged Arms

William Billingham is accused of stabbing his eight-year-old daughter to death.

West Midlands Police
Mylee Billingham

A father accused of killing his eight-year-old daughter has appeared at his trial with parts of his arms dressed in bandages.

Jurors were told to ignore the dressings worn by William Billingham, who denies murdering Mylee Billingham at his bungalow in Valley View, Brownhills, near Walsall, in January.

Billingham, 55, appeared to grimace in pain and constantly shuffled in his seat while in the dock at Birmingham Crown Court.

Addressing jurors on Wednesday, trial judge Paul Farrer QC told the panel of eight women and four men: “You can see that Mr Billingham is back with us. He is fit to continue with his trial.

“You will inevitably notice, looking over at the dock, certainly when Mr Billingham sits up, that his arms are both wearing bandages.

“I just want to say this to you about that – you must not speculate as to what lies behind that.

“And for present purposes it has no relevance whatsoever to any of the issues that you are going to need to determine so far as this case is concerned.

“The presence of dressings on his arms is entirely irrelevant and you should put it out of your minds.”

She was my best friend. We would watch TV and play games.” William Billingham describing his eight-year-old daughter Mylee, who he is accused of stabbing to death

David Mason QC then opened the defence for Billingham by calling psychiatrist Dr Nuwan Galappathie, who told the court he had interviewed the defendant at Birmingham prison on July 6.

Dr Galappathie said: “In terms of his mental state at the time of the killing he was suffering from a mild episode of depression.

“In my opinion it would have affected his ability to form a rational judgement and would have affected his ability to exercise control.”

When quizzed about the offences, Billingham told the court he remembered picking his daughter up from school and staying at his elder daughter’s home.

He denied abusing any drugs and said the next thing he remembered was waking up at the Queen Elizabeth hospital.

Asked what he enjoyed in life, he told Dr Galappathie: “Being with the kids. He enjoyed swimming and going out to the cinema.”

Billingham went on to tell the psychiatrist he was worried about his children.

“It started to concern me. I would come home angry sometimes. I was worried about changes,” the dad had said.

He described Mylee as “fantastic”.

“She was my best friend. We would watch TV and play games,” the court was told.

The defendant “denied any thoughts about self harm or suicide.” and asked about the charges against him.

When told, he said: “I still find them unbelievable. I still have problems processing it. I saw her funeral on TV which made me realise.”

Dr Galappathie concluded by saying he believed that the defendant’s memory loss about events of on the day of the killing was a genuine one and was a result of the “severe trauma.”

“In some cases it can be short term but in others it can be or a longer period. In my opinion diminished responsibility can be considered by the court,” he said.

“At the time of the killing he was suffering from an abnormality of mental function caused by a moderate depressive episode. It’s likely his depression would have clouded his thoughts.”

Billingham’s depressive condition is likely to have cause him to attack Tracey Taundry, Mylee’s mother, with a knife, the psychiatrist said.

The jury also heard that Billingham, who will give evidence himself during the trial, was never prescribed any medication relating to depression or anxiety before the killing, or after he was discharged from hospital.

There was no indication in his GP records that he was suffering from depression.

The trial continues.