‘My little girl was stabbed to death but saved her sisters’ lives’

The mother of murdered eight-year-old Mylee Billingham has spoken about how her "perfect" daughter saved her sisters' lives.

Mylee's evil dad William Billingham callously stabbed her to death in January of last year.

The 56-year-old, used a kitchen knife to kill Mylee after dragging her by the coat into his bungalow – moments after holding the blade to the neck of her mother, Tracey Taundry.

Tracey, 35, was forced to listen to Mylee begging “Stop it, Daddy” as Billingham stabbed her to death behind a closed door.

Now, in a heartbreaking interview, Mylee’s mum Tracey reveals how she believes her daughter's death prevented her siblings from meeting a similar fate.

She said: “He killed Mylee to spite me.

"That makes me, as Mylee’s mummy, quite grateful to Mylee because in a way, it’s like she died so her sisters didn’t have too.

"I do believe, as hard as it is for me to admit, if it wasn’t Mylee, it would have been all three.

"I just wish I could switch places with Mylee. My life has changed and I’ll never be the person I was."

Tracey, of Walsall, West Midlands, also revealed that Billingham has refused to give up his parental rights to their two surviving girls – even though he is now serving life in jail.

He is entitled to regular updates on the other kids and has a say in medical treatment and education. Tracey even needs permission to take them on holiday.

He can also bar the girls from changing their surname.

Tracey has now started her own petition for Mylee's Law to remove parental rights from people convicted of serious crimes.

She said: “How can the man who murdered my daughter have control over my children? Why should he know about their welfare?

"He lost all rights when he killed Mylee.

“He doesn’t want me to be able to move on and, by having control of the kids, he has control of me. One of my daughters was called a ‘murderer in the making’ because of her surname.”

You can sign the petition for Mylee's Law here

Tracey also slammed authorities for not warning her about Billingham’s background, saying she would have taken legal action in a bid to stop him accessing their daughters if she had known he was a violent criminal with a history of domestic abuse.

"I could kick myself.

“I wish I could go back and stop him from seeing my children but I would have been accused of being a bad parent and using them as a weapon.

“I wanted them to have what any child would want, a mum, a dad.

"I didn’t believe in split Christmases so he’d come at Christmas. There was no ‘these are dad’s presents, these are mum’s presents', none of that because that’s not how I wanted it to be.

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“He’d always been fine with the girls. I had no reason to believe that he was capable of doing something like that.

“He’d been horrible to me in the past but not against my kids, never.”

Tracey carries on for the sake of her surviving children and is incredibly calm when she speaks about the terrible events of January 2018.

“It’s a coping mechanism. I don’t want to get up in the morning. I have to. I don’t have a choice because I’m their mum and I’ve got to look after them," she said.

"I want to look after them. I don’t want other people to look after them because I’m not in the right frame of mind.

"In the beginning, that was very difficult. I had a lot of family around me helping me to look after the girls.

“I haven’t grieved properly. People say ‘oh this far down the line, you moving on?’ No, I can never move on.  

"Some days everything is fine. Then I remember Mylee is not there.

"It’s the little things, like when I buy a pack of three chocolates and have one left and I shouldn't have and now I can’t help but keep buying that pack of three chocolates.

"Things like that. I’ve always shouted their names in order and it's always on the tip of my tongue to say Mylee's name."

Tracey's eldest daughter has launched a bid to change her surname because of the cruel 'murderer in the making' taunts.

“I just want my kids to grow up and be okay and not carry that stigma of that name because for them, it’s not fair," said Tracey.

“My eldest has got her own opinions, she wants to change her name. She knows what happened to her sister.

“My daughter is nearly 14. She has her own mind to think what she would like. Why should she have to carry a name that she doesn’t want?”

Tracey refuses to speak negatively about Billingham in front of her children – and has banned others from speaking out.

She said: “I’ve never slagged him off in front of her. I don’t think it's right. I’m their mum, not their enemy. I don’t want to put thoughts in their head.

“My youngest daughter is autistic so doesn’t understand a great deal. But my eldest daughter who is really bright, a clever girl, knows. But no, I’ve not let anyone else say anything.

“Bad words are not said against him. In fact I don’t give him my thoughts because he’s not worth it in that sense.

“I don’t talk about him.

“That uses my energy and it's bad energy. I don’t like it. 

“It doesn’t mean I condone what he did.

“I hate him for it. But I’m not going to waste my good energy. And Mylee was a good child.

“She gave everyone a fair chance and I don’t believe in using my children as a weapon like he did.

“So to speak badly of him to my children would make me a terrible person.. That would be me using them as a weapon and that is not who I am. I would never do that."

Billingham was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 27 years at Birmingham Crown Court in October last year.

Tracey was forced to recount every minute of the horrific incident in court – as the sick dad refused to show remorse and claimed he could not remember the killing.

She said:  “It was traumatic to give evidence. I had to do it and I would do the same thing tomorrow if it meant he was found guilty. Of course. I looked at it like I was doing my bit for Mylee.

“But I had to go to court to give evidence, yet he didn’t have to get on the stand and be cross-examined. That in itself is disgusting to me.

“That I had to stand and go through it all again, and tell the story that was in my head constantly anyway. I had to relive it and say it out loud to a jury and people that I didn’t know. And then he gets to say ‘no, I don’t want to get in the box’.

"Part of me was like ‘well we know why, because you haven’t got an answer.’

"Because you know you’ve done it, even though he said he had memory loss.

"He knew he did it and there was nothing. Because he said I’ve got memory loss and I can’t remember. He never suffered from memory loss before. 

“It was another form of control.

"People have said to me, 'oh he got life, with a minimum of 27 years'. Life should mean life actually.

"And it can’t bring her back. It doesn’t seem long enough. She’d be my age. Mylee would be my age if he’s released then.”

Tracey says she doesn’t like to think about the way Mylee died and instead focuses on her wonderful life.

She said: “Mylee was perfect. She loved dancing and singing. She would do an after school club every night and then go straight to a dance club. She was really outgoing. She loved scooters, bikes, football.

“Mylee was… you know, she’d go out in a tutu with football boots. That was Mylee.

“She never cried. She was never upset. She was always smiling.

“She never took a side and was popular at school. That’s the type of child Mylee was.

“She loved dancing, ballet, ballroom, tap. My laminate floor took the brunt of that with the tap shoes!

“She could be mischievous. ‘Oh no, it wasn’t me!’, well it was!

“Mylee was very close to her siblings and we celebrate her life by doing lots of things that she would have done.

“At Mylee’s school, they’re doing a Mylee garden. As a positive space, not a negative.

“I don’t want kids to think ‘oh I had a friend, her name was Mylee and she was murdered’.

“I want them to think ‘I had a friend, her name was Mylee and she was beautiful’. I’ve had masses of support for that and it just shows me how people still think of her.

“Mylee wanted to take over the world. She was a positive child. I just go from that. There’s no point me sitting here. Yeah, I’ve got angry words and thoughts… I’d rather not focus on them, it’s not worth my energy.

“I feel Mylee’s presence. She’s around, of course she is. She’s always with me. If you ain’t got belief, you’ve got nothing. Without mine, I wouldn’t be able to carry on.”

If you need domestic abuse support go to refuge.org.uk

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