“The Brownhills ribbons for Mylee touched so many hearts, her tragic death rocked the community…” These are the heartfelt words from Detective Inspector Jim Colclough from the force’s homicide team who led the emotive investigation into the murder of eight-year-old Mylee Billingham.
Yesterday (1 October) Mylee’s father, William Billingham, aged 55 was found guilty of her murder following a trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
Police were called to Billingham’s home in Valley View, Brownhills at 9:15pm on Saturday 20 January where Mylee was found with serious injuries. She had been stabbed in the chest and despite the valiant efforts of police and medics she died later that evening in hospital.
The court heard how Billingham was thought to be struggling to cope with his ex-partner, Mylee’s mother, Tracey’s decision to start a new relationship. Although he spoke of accepting it, his actions were plainly hostile to the new situation.
Moments before he stabbed Mylee, he threatened to kill Tracey in what had originally appeared to be a normal and civil exchange outside his house. Tracey heard something drop on the floor and was horrified to see it was a kitchen knife at Billingham’s feet. She slipped over while trying to get away from him at which point Billingham grabbed Mylee and dragged her back into his bungalow.
Billingham was found with Mylee on the kitchen floor, he had a superficial knife wound on his neck and stab injuries to his stomach. He was taken to hospital and underwent surgery for his injuries. Once fit, he was taken into police custody and interviewed.
He provided an account in interview of the time leading up to the terrible events which took place that evening but claimed to have no knowledge of the events themselves.
On hearing yesterday’s verdict, DI Colclough said: “Sadly Billingham has provided little by way of an explanation for what he did throughout. Right from when officers first attended and were desperately trying to administer crucial first aid on his daughter he refused to cooperate or even tell them her name. In fact all he could manage to utter was the words ‘COPD’ which relate to a lung condition he suffers from- it demonstrates how selfish he is; his daughter was fighting for her life and all he was concerned with was himself.
“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. Tracey and her family have dealt with this tremendously, with courage and dignity.
“Mylee’s loss has touched the hearts of so many people, I cannot begin to imagine how her family and friends feel. 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.
“The community in Brownhills were left devastated by the loss of Mylee. School friends and the wider community decorated the area with pink ribbons in her memory and a fund was also set up to help pay for her funeral which was attended by hundreds to pay their respects.”
DI Colclough added: “I also feel I should mention the professionalism and bravery of the officers and medics who offered assistance to both Mylee and Billingham. They were faced with a truly horrifying scene and did everything they could to try and save Mylee. Many of these officers are still struggling to come to terms with what happened that night. My own team have also worked tirelessly under very distressing circumstances to bring Billingham to justice.”
Billingham will be sentenced at the same court this morning (2 October).