Man guilty of murdering eight-year-old daughter

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A factory worker who stabbed his eight-year-old daughter through the chest in an apparent act of revenge against his ex-partner has been found guilty of murder.

William Billingham, 55, used a kitchen knife to kill Mylee Billingham after dragging her by the coat into his bungalow – moments after holding the blade to the neck of her mother, Tracey Taundry.

A trial at Birmingham Crown Court heard how Miss Taundry dialled 999 from outside Billingham’s house in Brownhills, near Walsall, telling operators to hurry as Mylee was screaming “stop it daddy”.

Jurors deliberated for around 80 minutes before unanimously convicting Billingham of murder and a separate charge of making a threat to kill 34-year-old Miss Taundry. He will be sentenced on Tuesday.

William Billingham
William Billingham (West Midlands Police)

But prosecutors argued that Billingham “turned his anger” on Mylee to spite Miss Taundry after she began a same-sex relationship.

Opening the case at the start of the trial, prosecutor Karim Khalil QC said of the killing: “It was swift, deliberate, clinical, brutal. It was not some manic unfocused assault.

“This was no accident and it was not a slight injury – it was a deep, violent thrust of a lethal weapon into the most vulnerable part of his young daughter’s body.”

The guilty verdict on the murder charge led to a restrained cry of “yes” from the public gallery, where members of Mylee’s family, including her mother, were sitting.

After the foreman returned the verdicts, the jury were informed by the judge that Billingham underwent an operation part-way through the trial after injuring his wrists while on remand.

The jurors were earlier told to ignore bandages covering Billingham’s lower arms – after he missed three days of his trial due to a stay in hospital.

The father-of-six underwent surgery after the apparent attempt to end his own life on September 21.

Adjourning sentence in the case until Tuesday, Judge Paul Farrer QC thanked those sitting in the public gallery for their calmness during the nine-day trial.

The judge said: “Can I thank the public for the calm and dignified way in which you have all conducted yourselves at all stages of this trial.”

Billingham, who faces a mandatory life sentence, stared at the floor in the dock and showed no obvious emotion after he was convicted.

William Billingham
CCTV footage of William Billingham and his daughter Mylee (West Midlands Police)

Shortly after the leaving the store, Billingham posted a picture on Facebook of an apparently happy Mylee at his home, sitting on a bed eating pizza.

Police attended reports of Billingham wielding a knife after a 999 call made at 9.14pm, moments after Miss Taundry arrived to take her home.

Giving evidence at the trial, Miss Taundry said she heard a “tink” near Billingham’s front doorstep and then spotted a knife as she waited for Mylee to fetch a bag.

During the prosecution’s opening speech, Mr Khalil claimed Billingham – who stabbed himself in the stomach at the scene – had ignored police requests for information about what had happened to his daughter.

Detective Inspector Jim Colclough said: “Sadly Billingham has provided little by way of an explanation for what he did throughout.

“I cannot imagine how painful and difficult this has been for Tracey and her family to comprehend. After having to try and come to terms with their loss, Billingham has put them through the ordeal of a very public trial.

“I hope today’s verdict offers some sense of justice which may in time provide some comfort. However I know they will never come to terms with what has happened.

“A young girl, who had her whole life ahead of her, has been cruelly taken by someone who she loved and trusted. This is a despicable act on a defenceless child.”

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