(SKY NEWS) – A father accused of stabbing his young daughter in her stomach with a kitchen knife says he has no memory of the alleged murder, a jury heard.
William Billingham attacked “trusting and defenceless” Mylee Billingham, eight, at his home near Walsall moments after threatening to kill her mother, Tracey Taundry, on 20 January, Birmingham Crown Court was told.
On the murder trial’s first day, prosecutor Karim Khalil QC said the 55-year-old was struggling to cope with his ex, Miss Taundry, starting a relationship with another woman.
Mr Khalil told jurors: “Moments before he stabbed his daughter to death, Tracey had arrived at the defendant’s house to collect her daughter Mylee.
“Whilst at the front door the defendant threatened to kill Tracey with the same knife and she had run off a short distance.
“The defendant did provide an account in interview of the time leading up to these terrible events, but he claimed to have no memory of the events themselves.
“He has therefore provided little by way of explanation for what he did.”
Mr Khalil said Billingham met Miss Taundry when she was 19 and he was 40, and he has six children with three partners.
He added: “We say that, whether he has genuinely blanked out the events from his memory, or whether he is choosing to refuse to say what he can remember, he is guilty of threatening to kill his former partner and guilty of murdering his daughter.
“Whether or not he can remember the events does not affect his responsibility for them.”
Psychiatric evidence will be heard during the trial as jurors will decide whether the killing was “murder or manslaughter”, he added.
Miss Taundry and Billingham’s relationship initially caused tensions between his older children, the jury heard.
In 2010, she called police claiming he hit her and threw things around their flat, but did not press charges.
Their strained relationship “was not helped by Tracey texting and flirting with another man” and Billingham is alleged to have taken her phone in anger.
Billingham eventually moved out and Miss Taundry described them as remaining as “friends with benefits”, with the pair joking about her bisexuality.
Late last year she met a woman who became her regular partner, which Mr Khalil said Billingham struggled to deal with and became “plainly hostile” to the new situation.
On 18 January, two days before Mylee was stabbed, Billingham asked his daughter to go to his house for tea and to stay over.
“She was excited at this prospect and it was agreed the defendant would collect her from the after-school club the following day,” Mr Khalil said.
The prosecution’s opening address is due to continue on Wednesday.
Billingham denies murder and making a threat to kill.