I heard my girl scream as her dad killed her.. why weren’t we warned?

Mum’s anger after vi­o­lent past of part­ner was ignored

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - News - BY ROSALEEN FEN­TON and GERAL­DINE MCKELVIE

GRIN­NING from ear to ear in a cute hol­i­day snap, lit­tle Mylee Billing­ham doesn’t have a care in the world.

But just months later, the eight-yearold’s life was cru­elly snuffed out with a knife by her evil dad Wil­liam.

Au­thor­i­ties took no steps to mon­i­tor 56-year-old Billing­ham’s contact with her – de­spite him be­ing a vi­o­lent crim­i­nal with a his­tory of do­mes­tic abuse.

Last week we re­vealed Mylee was one of 63 kids killed after they were left alone with known abu­sive par­ents.

Now, in a heart­break­ing interview, Mylee’s mum Tracey Taun­dry is back­ing our cru­sade to change the law and Save Kids From Vi­o­lent Par­ents.

Tracey, 35, who was forced to lis­ten to Mylee beg­ging “Stop it, Daddy” as Billing­ham stabbed her to death be­hind a closed door, said: “No vi­o­lent crim­i­nal should be left alone with a child.

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

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 the ex­tent of his vi­o­lence.

She said: “Why wasn’t I told about his pre­vi­ous con­vic­tion? He also had chil­dren with exes who would be in the same sit­u­a­tion as mine were.

“So­cial work­ers must have known about his record. I could kick my­self.

UP­DATES

“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.”

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

“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.”

Tracey’s world im­ploded when Mylee was killed on an ac­cess visit in Jan­uary 2018.

Billing­ham was fu­ri­ous be­cause Tracey was in a new re­la­tion­ship, even though they had split up years ear­lier.

Au­thor­i­ties had not checked Mylee was safe with her fa­ther even though he had a 1990s con­vic­tion for ABH re­lat­ing to a pre­vi­ous girl­friend, of which Tracey was un­aware.

His murder trial at Birm­ing­ham Crown Court also heard claims he had threat­ened to jump from a bal­cony while hold­ing his son from a past re­la­tion­ship.

Tracey said that if she had known about his back­ground she would have taken le­gal ac­tion, even though it might not have suc­ceeded.

Our nine-month probe has shown that even when cases reach the fam­ily courts, judges of­ten grant un­su­per­vised

ac­cess to vi­o­lent crim­i­nal par­ents.

The Chil­dren Act, in­tro­duced in 1989, was de­signed to en­sure the wel­fare of chil­dren comes first. But it does not specif­i­cally ban any­one con­victed of vi­o­lent crimes, sex­ual of­fences or child abuse from un­su­per­vised ac­cess. Tracey said so­cial ser­vices did visit her after Billing­ham was cau­tioned for as­sault­ing her when Mylee was small.

But she claimed they did not make clear how vi­o­lent he’d been in the past, or how his be­hav­iour put her kids at risk.

She said: “Noth­ing was re­ally ex­plained. I wasn’t aware of any­thing but my own sit­u­a­tion.”

A se­ri­ous case review was com­mis­sioned in the wake of Mylee’s death, which found au­thor­i­ties failed to record key de­tails about Billing­ham’s abuse.

It also found that pro­fes­sion­als failed to make checks to en­sure Tracey and her kids were safe. Tracey is now tor­tured by the thought that her evil ex could have killed all three of their girls.

Tracey, who has started her own pe­ti­tion for Mylee’s Law to re­move parental rights from peo­ple con­victed of se­ri­ous crimes, said: “He killed Mylee to spite me. In a way, I’m grate­ful – it’s like she died so her sis­ters didn’t have to.”

She added: “Some days ev­ery­thing is fine with the other girls, 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.”

Our campaign is be­ing backed by a raft of char­i­ties and MPs. Shadow Home Of­fice min­is­ter Carolyn Har­ris said: “The idea chil­dren need both par­ents is ad­mirable, but a dan­ger­ous par­ent is a threat.”

Refuge chief San­dra Hor­ley said: “We want an end to the pre­sump­tion that parental contact is al­ways pos­i­tive.”

GRIEF OF A MUM Tracey at Mylee’s funeral last year PLAY­FUL Mylee in a cheeky pose EVIL Billing­ham had a vi­o­lent past

CAMPAIGN Our story on do­mes­tic abuse last week

FACE OF AN AN­GEL Mylee was killed by own fa­ther

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