Mylee Billingham: Father jailed for at least 27 years for brutal murder of eight-year-old daughter

William Billingham was given a life sentence for the ‘brutal and cowardly’ murder of his eight-year-old daughter.

William Billingham, left, was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his daughter Mylee, right
William Billingham, left, was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his daughter Mylee, right

A father who stabbed his defenceless daughter to death will spend at least 27 years behind bars for the 'brutal and cowardly' murder.

William Billingham shook his head and stared at the floor as he was jailed for life after plunging a 20cm kitchen knife into eight-year-old Mylee Billingham's chest.

The murderer, who will be 82 before he can be considered for release, killed his daughter in his Brownhills bungalow in a 'revenge' act against ex-partner Tracey Taundry.

He was said by his barrister to have no desire to live due to his remorse over the killing.

Smiley Mylee

Mylee's mother Ms Taundry paid tribute to her beautiful daughter before revealing Billingham's 'most selfish and despicable actions' had left her heartbroken.

Billingham was given a two-year concurrent jail term for holding a knife to the throat of Ms Taundry before the murder, as she called at his home in Valley View, Brownhills.

St James Primary School pupil Mylee was aged eight when she was killed

In a statement read to Birmingham Crown Court, Ms Taundry said: "How can I ever explain how the murder of my beautiful daughter, Smiley Mylee, has affected me, her sisters and my immediate family.

"Mylee was brutally taken from us by a man who was supposed to care for and protect her. I was not able to hold her while she lay dying. I was helpless outside, unable to hold her hand to comfort her.

"Since this incident, I have struggled to sleep, and once I fall asleep, I wake up thinking of Mylee. I relive that terrible night over and over again. I regularly hear her voice and I have started to look for her."

Mylee's mother Tracey Taundry carrying a doll and a piece of Mylee's favourite cake at her funeral in April

Ms Taundry described how her life 'fell apart' when Mylee was murdered at Billingham's Valley View home - a home she had believed was 'a place of comfort, trust and love'.

The grieving 34-year-old, who has another two children with Billingham, added: "Both of the girls have had to have counselling. They will live with this forever, as will I. None of us will get over what happened.

"I trusted him with my most perfect girls. He broke that trust in a way that nobody can comprehend."

'No desire to live'

Billingham, who was wearing a grey jacket, dark coloured top and glasses on top of his head, took a puff of his inhaler after hearing the impact of his callous offending.

The 55-year-old - who had previous convictions for theft and assaulting occasioning actual bodily harm and two cautions for common assault - slashed his wrists with razor blades while in custody, in an apparent suicide attempt.

Before sentence was passed, Billingham's barrister revealed that the killer had been verbally abused in the cells before being brought into court.

CCTV showed Mylee with her father in a shop hours before the murder

Lawyer Balraj Bhatia said: "Nobody sitting in this court hearing the victim impact statement could fail to be moved by it.

"Perhaps the biggest burden a parent can ever deal with is the loss of a child before they die.

"That burden must be magnified to an immeasurable degree when that child has died at your own hands.

WATCH: Detective recalls harrowing case

"This court will punish him in terms of years. His punishment - to use his own words - is that he is still breathing.

"Your Honour knows, during the course of this trial, that he tried to take his own life.

"Just this morning as I was preparing him for the impact statement, there was a palpable rush of hatred from every prisoner that walked by the cell.

"To use his own words, he cannot live with this nor does he desire to live with this. As I say, his real punishment is that he is still breathing."

Brutal and cowardly

Jurors unanimously convicted Billingham - brother of TV's SAS Who Dares Wins star Mark Billingham - of murder and making a threat to kill Ms Taundry after less than 90 minutes' of deliberation on Monday.

The unemployed factory worker, who has another three children from previous relationships, became 'jealous' of Ms Taundry's new relationship with a woman.

He locked Ms Taundry out of his home, dragging St James Primary School pupil Mylee back inside where she screamed 'stop it daddy' on January 20.

WATCH: CCTV shows Mylee and father hours before murder

Billingham's defence team claimed he had moderate depression at the time but this was disputed by a prosecution psychiatrist who dubbed the killer's lack of memory surrounding the murder as 'not genuine'.

Sentencing on Tuesday morning, Judge Paul Farrer QC said: "I have no doubt that you were not [suffering from depression at the time].

"Your mood may have been low but you were not exhibiting any symptoms of clinical depression.

Police move a police tent in front of the murder scene

"Instead, this offence was driven by jealousy and anger. When Tracey escaped you on the front lawn, you turned that anger upon Mylee and killed her in order to cause pain to her mother.

Accepting the decision to harm Mylee arose spontaneously, the judge added: “Within moments of stabbing Mylee, you realised the enormity of what you had done – you regretted your actions and you attempted to take your own life.

“Ultimately, this was the brutal, cowardly, killing of a defenceless and much-loved child who had her whole life ahead of her."

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