Father accused of stabbing daughter appeared normal before killing, court told
AÂ fatherÂ accused of murdering his eight-year-old daughter in a knife attack appeared and sounded normal shortly before the killing, the victim's mother has told a court.
Tracey Taundry told jurors her ex-partner, William Billingham, had agreed for Mylee Billingham to be collected from his bungalow on the night he is alleged to have stabbed through "the entire depth" of the youngster's chest.
Jurors at Birmingham Crown Court were told Mylee called out for her mother and shouted "no daddy" as Billingham dragged the primary school pupil into his bungalow in Brownhills, near Walsall.
On the second day of the trial, prosecutor Karim Khalil QC claimed Billingham, a 55-year-old father-of-six, only made comments about his own welfare as police tried to revive his daughter.
Billingham denies murdering Mylee at his bungalow in Valley View, and making a threat to kill Miss Taundry as she arrived to pick up her daughter.
Giving evidence from behind a screen shielding her from the public gallery, Miss Taundry said she had spoken to Mylee after dialling Billingham's mobile at 8.42pm on January 20.
Describing the call, Miss Taundry told the court: "She said she was OK but she seemed upset. She said she wanted to come home as she didn't feel very well.
"She said her neck and throat hurt."
Mylee, the court heard, then said she wanted to go to her mother's for some medicine, after relating that Billingham had said he did not want to speak to Miss Taundry.
When she arrived at Billingham's address to collect Mylee, Miss Taundry told the court, he seemed "jittery in the mouth but normal" as she waited at the door.
The jury has been told Mylee was near the doorstep of the property when she was pulled inside, moments after Billingham held a knife to the neck of Miss Taundry, who dialled 999.
Police gained entry to the property quickly, the trial was told, where they were confronted with a "terrible" scene.
Billingham is alleged to have been uncooperative with the first two officers to arrive, only speaking to confirm he had a lung condition which had caused him breathing difficulties.
During his opening address to the court, Mr Khalil alleged: "We say that he continued to show a total disregard for her young life, referring only to something that might matter to his own care."
The evidence in the case, Mr Khalil said, suggested that Mylee "was probably lying down and it was a hard surface" which prevented the 20cm blade passing out of her back.
Mr Khalil told the jury of eight women and four men a pathologist believed severe force was used to inflict the wound, which caused rib damage and "penetrated the entire depth of Mylee's chest from front to back".
Billingham was treated for wounds to his stomach, which the Crown say were self-inflicted, before being interviewed by police after undergoing surgery.
Concluding his opening speech, Mr Khalil addressed claims by a psychiatric expert, due to be called by the defence, that Billingham may have a partial defence of diminished responsibility, reducing murder to manslaughter.
Claiming Billingham's behaviour in the days preceding the incident did not reveal any serious abnormality of mind, Mr Khalil said of the killing: "It was swift, deliberate, clinical, brutal.
"It was not some manic unfocused assault. It has the hallmarks of him knowing precisely what he was doing.
"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."