The mother of an eight-year-old girl has told a murder trial how the youngster shouted “stop it daddy” moments before she was dragged into her father’s bungalow and stabbed to death.
Tracey Taundry told jurors her ex-partner William Billingham held a knife to her throat – and then took hold of their daughter by the coat as she called out for her mother.
Billingham, of Valley View, Brownhills, near Walsall, denies murdering daughter Mylee at his home and making a threat to kill Miss Taundry as she arrived to collect the primary school pupil.
On the second day of a trial at Birmingham Crown Court, Miss Taundry told how she slipped as Mylee was “grabbed” by Billingham on the night of Saturday January 20 this year.
Giving evidence to the 55-year-old’s trial, Miss Taundry said she heard a “tink” near Billingham’s front door-step and then spotted a knife as she waited for Mylee to fetch a bag.
Miss Taundry told a jury of eight women and four men: “He said ‘I’m going to kill you’. He had a knife to my neck. I started running backwards, away from the house… I slipped.”
Asked where Mylee was at the time she slipped, Miss Taundry, who could be heard sobbing behind a screen shielding the witness box, added: “She was standing on the drain outside the front door, just to the side.
“She was crying, she was upset and she was shouting ‘mummy, stop it daddy… mummy’.
“He walked towards her, grabbed her by the hood and dragged her back in the door.”
Miss Taundry said the front door was then slammed shut, leaving her unable to enter the house.
She could then hear Mylee saying “mummy, mummy” inside the property, but did not hear Billingham say anything.
Prosecutor Karim Khalil QC asked Miss Taundry: “Are you able to give any sense of how long it was after she went into the house before you stopped hearing her voice?”
Miss Taundry replied: “Seconds.”
The grieving mother’s evidence followed the close of the prosecution’s opening speech, during which Mr Khalil claimed Billingham, a father-of-six, had only made comments about his own welfare as police tried to revive his daughter.
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 unco-operative with the first two officers to arrive, only speaking to confirm he had a lung condition which had caused him breathing difficulties.
The evidence in the case, Mr Khalil said, suggested Mylee “was probably lying down and it was a hard surface” which prevented the 20cm blade passing out of her 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.
Billingham’s behaviour in the days leading up to the killing did not reveal any serious abnormality of mind, Mr Khalil said, adding: “He clearly knew exactly what he was doing and to whom.
“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 trial continues on Thursday.