A trial at Birmingham Crown Court this week heard harrowing evidence from the mother of an eight-year-old girl allegedly stabbed to death by her father.
William Billingham attacked “trusting and defenceless” Mylee Billingham moments after threatening to kill her mother, Tracey Taundry, jurors were told.
Taundry described how he dragged the child into his house while she stood helplessly dialling 999 on the doorstep.
Sobbing behind a screen in the witness box, Taundry described how she heard her daughter from behind the locked front door begging her father to stop while calling out “mummy, mummy.”
Opening the case against father-of-six Billingham on Monday, prosecutor Karim Khalil QC said the 55-year-old was struggling to cope with his ex-partner’s decision to start a new relationship.
He told the jury members they were likely to have to consider Billingham’s mental state when Mylee was fatally injured at his home in Valley View, Brownhills, near Walsall, on January 20.
“The defendant did provide an account in interview of the time leading up to these terrible events, but he claimed to have no memory of the events themselves,” Khalil said.
“We say that he is guilty of threatening to kill his former partner and guilty of murdering his daughter.
“Whether or not he can remember the events does not affect his responsibility for them.”
On Thursday January 18, two days before Mylee was stabbed, she was asked by Billingham if she wanted to go to his house for tea and to stay over.
Khalil said of the primary school pupil: “She was excited at this prospect and it was agreed the defendant would collect her from the after-school club the following day.”
When her mother came to collect her, Billingham allegedly stepped out of his front door and put a knife against the side of Taundry’s neck, saying: “I’m going to f**king kill you.”
Taundry told a jury of eight women and four men: “He had a knife to my neck. I started running backwards, away from the house… I slipped.
“Mylee was standing on the drain outside the front door, just to the side.
“She was crying, she was upset and she was shouting ‘mummy, stop it daddy… mummy’.
“He walked towards her, grabbed her by the hood and dragged her back in the door.”
Taundry said the front door was then slammed shut, leaving her unable to enter the house.
She could then hear Mylee saying “mummy, mummy” inside the property but did not hear Billingham say anything.
Her frantic call to the emergency services was played to the jury during which she repeatedly pleaded with officers to hurry.
In the call, Taundry said: “My ex-boyfriend has got a knife at me – he’s just dragged my daughter back in the house and he’s got a knife.
“He’s got my baby inside. Please, he’s making her scream. I can hear her. Please hurry up, she’s eight.”
Miss Taundry went on to tell the 999 operator that she had seen Billingham with the “massive” knife in his hand.
“What if he’s f****** stabbed her?” Taundry asked the call-handler, adding: “He’s off his head. I think he’s had a drink but I am in a new relationship and this is what it’s about.
“She wanted to come home. She was screaming ‘please daddy don’t, I want my mummy’.”
Police gained entry to the property quickly where they were confronted with a “terrible” scene.
Billingham was found “whimpering”on top of his daughter, who was “covered in blood” with a 17cm knife wound.
He later told police he did it to keep his “little girl as she was” and to “protect her from the internet” insisting he “never wanted to hurt her”,
Billingham was treated for wounds to his stomach, which prosecutors said were self-inflicted, before being interviewed by police.
The jury was also shown CCTV footage of Mylee shopping and buying a toy with her dad – just two hours before she was stabbed to death.
As her father heads towards the till, the schoolgirl browses and points to what appears to be a whoopee cushion as she grins ear-to-ear.
Billingham denies murdering Mylee and making a threat to kill her mother, Tracey Taundry.
The trial continues on Monday.