A father who stabbed his eight-year-old daughter to death after her mother started a lesbian relationship was convicted of the child’s murder in little over an hour on Monday.
William Billingham, 55, thrust a blade into the chest of little Mylee after dragging her into his bungalow by her coat hood as the child screamed, ‘Please daddy no.’
Just over an hour earlier, Billingham had posted a picture of an apparently happy Mylee eating pizza on a bed at his housing association property.
‘It’s the most selfish act you can think of’, Detective Inspector Jim Colclough said after Monday’s conviction.
Billingham attacked the child to get back at his bisexual former lover, Tracey Taundry, three months after she started a new relationship with girlfriend Lindsey Andrews, jurors were told.
The knife was only prevented from passing through her body by the hard kitchen floor beneath her.
On Monday the jury took just one hour and 15 minutes to convict Billingham of Mylee’s murder, and of making threats to kill Miss Taundry, who had arrived to collect the child from the defendant’s home moments before he grabbed a kitchen knife which had been concealed by the doorstep.
Following the conviction, it can be revealed that the father of six, the brother of TV’s SAS Who Dares Wins star Mark Billingham, has a history of threatening violence towards past lovers when they have left him. Julie Cadman, 53, who had a daughter, Melissa, now 27, with Billingham, told how the factory worker flew into a rage when she told him she was leaving him.
Mrs Cadman, who also has two other children from a previous relationship, told the Daily Mail how the pair’s drink-fuelled relationship fell apart 16 years ago after she grew tired of his violence. Billingham went on to strike up a relationship with Miss Taundry, a brunette 21 years his junior.
Mrs Cadman, from Norton Canes, Staffordshire, said: ‘Bill would smash up the house after he had been drinking. He’d drink whatever he could get his hands on – lager, bitter or cider. When I told him I’d found somebody else, he held me at knifepoint and threatened to kill the three kids.’
Meanwhile, Mandy Reece, 55, the mother of Billingham’s eldest two children, told police that she came one afternoon after telling Billingham their relationship was over – and found him hiding under a bed with a knife.
Mrs Reece also described how Billingham had threatened to jump from a balcony with their young son following their split in 1990.
Dr Philip Joseph, a consultant forensic psychiatrist who assessed Billingham for the prosecution, told jurors at Birmingham Crown Court the incidents described by Mrs Reece suggested ‘a long-standing problem in his ability to deal with the end of relationships’.
Mylee, who was known to relatives as Moo, died from a chest wound in hospital after emergency services were called to Billingham’s bungalow in Brownhills, West Midlands, last January. Prosecutor Karim Khalil QC said Billingham, 55, had struggled to deal with the fact that Miss Taundry had a lesbian lover, adding: ‘Mr Billingham had always known that Tracey was bisexual – it had often been a cause for light-hearted banter between them.’
But he said the fact that her new relationship was ‘not simply a one-off event, but seemed to be getting more serious, was something the defendant found difficult to deal with’.
The court heard the couple were together for around seven years until separating seven years ago. But they maintained a ‘friends-with-benefits’ relationship until Miss Taundry began seeing Miss Andrews last October.
The two women attended court to see Billingham convicted on Monday, with Miss Taundry breaking down in tears amid restrained shouts of ‘Yes’ from the public gallery as the verdicts were announced. They left the building without comment and were driven away by police. Billingham sat emotionless in the dock with his arms wrapped in bandages, after attempting to kill himself part-way through the trial.
After the conviction, Detective Inspector Colclough said: ‘It’s the most selfish act you can think of.
‘It is the greatest breach of trust that you can imagine as a father. Mylee was an eight-year-old girl. She had every reason to believe that Billingham was the most trusted person in the world.
‘To carry out an act and actually take Mylee’s life ... it’s terrible.’
Billingham was recorded on CCTV shopping with a smiling Mylee just hours before killing her, then stabbing himself twice in the liver. He will be sentenced this morning.
Mark Billingham attended at least one of his brother’s previous court appearances but was not seen at court during the trial.
A spokesman said that the former SAS soldier and celebrity bodyguard, who counts Tom Cruise among his former clients, did not wish to comment on the case.