A father arrested for the murder of his eight-year-old daughter in the West Midlands posted a picture of her on Facebook just an hour before police were called.
Bill Billingham, 54, has been named by locals after his eight-year-old daughter, Mylee, was found with knife wounds on Saturday night in Valley View in Brownhills near Walsall.
He is understood to have been taken to hospital with stab wounds to the stomach and it is suspected he turned the blade on himself.
It is thought Billingham – who a friend said had recently been made redundant from a factory job – remains in hospital with police officers at his bedside.
An hour before police arrived at 9.15pm, the father posted a picture of his daughter on Facebook at 8.15pm eating pizza on a bed with the caption:’Pitza on bed lv moo x’.
It has now emerged Mylee’s mother, Tracey Taundry, had ‘liked’ the post. The couple are separated.
The murder suspect’s brother Mark Billingham MBE is one of the stars of Channel 4’s SAS Who Dares Wins and was once a private body guard for Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Tom Cruise.
Harrowing ‘high-pitched’ were heard by neighbours in the street last night, who described seeing Ms Taundry outside the property screaming: ‘They stabbed my baby.’
Police are currently at Tracey Taundry, Mylee’s mothers, house which is just minutes away from the scene of the crime.
A friend of the arrested father said: ‘I just can’t believe he would do something like this. It’s completely out of character.
‘Him and Tracey were split, but he completely doted on all five children.
‘I used to drink with him in the pub and he seemed like such a normal person. To do something like that is terrible.
‘I just don’t understand how it’s happened.’
Tonight, Mark Billingham said: ‘Please respect my family’s privacy. There will be no further comment at this time.’
The incident happened at a house in Brownhills, near Walsall, last night where police were called to deal with what was described as a domestic incident.
Police were called to Valley View at around 9.15pm where the young girl was found with serious injuries.
The hysterical mother of the child, described as an ‘angel’, was seen by neighbours outside the house saying: ‘They stabbed my baby.’
The family have spoken of their devastation at the loss of the young Ed Sheeran superfan and those living a couple of doors down said they heard screams coming from the house last night.
The victim was taken to hospital, but sadly nothing could be done to save her and she died a short time later.
The 54-year-old man was treated in hospital for a stab wound to his stomach.
He is now in a stable condition and will be questioned in due course.
Neighbour Graham Greatrex, 74, said he saw Tracey Taundry outside the property wailing after her daughter was stabbed.
He offered her a hot drink and said the distraught mother was in a trance-like state and was repeating the fact that her daughter had been killed.
Mr Greatrex said: ‘We heard the commotion and the mother was standing outside our house. I went to talk to her and she said, ‘They stabbed my baby’.
‘She was hysterical. People were racing around everywhere.’
A Valley View resident Dannie Meegan said: ‘That’s why I could see and hear the screams, it’s a couple of doors down from us.’
The shocking incident sent shockwaves around the community in Brownhills, with an outpouring of condolences for the family.
A family member said: ‘We have only just come back home after finding out the news.
‘We have hardly slept and are just trying to understand and process what has happened.
‘We still don’t know exactly what has took place at the this point we are truly devastated.’
A cordon remained around a bungalow in Valley View this morning and two police vehicles were parked outside.
Billingham posted a picture to Facebook of Mylee on Christmas Eve and the two seemed to spend time together regularly either watching TV or playing pool.
His social media profile shows he was working on redecorating a property at the beginning of the year and routinely referred to his daughter by the nickname ‘Moo’.
Earlier this week, he uploaded a picture of Mylee wearing Wonder Woman pyjamas with the caption: ‘Love this monkey mad as a hatter xx’, to which her mother Tracey Taundry replied: ‘Look how beautiful my girl is xx.’
On Friday, a day before the eight-year-old was stabbed to death, Bill Billingham posted pictures of her daughter playing pool and then enjoying a Chinese take-away as part of a cosy night in.
The last picture on his account is his daughter in bed with two half-eaten plates of pizza taken
Describing the young girl, a neighbour said: ‘I knew the family, the girl was just lovely. She had lovely hair that went down past her bum, was long and blonde.’
Neighbour Bob Wier, 72, said: ‘I didn’t hear anything from the house last night. It wasn’t until a policeman knocked on my door asking if I’d heard anything that I knew something was going on. He just told me there had been an incident.
‘I didn’t know them at all, though I know a bloke lived there on his own. I think he was called Bill, or Billy. I’d never seen a woman or child there.
‘There were about 15 to 20 police cars and about 5 ambulances blocking off the whole road, so I looked out last night I saw the stretchers being taken out to the ambulances.
‘After that, I might have imagined it, but I saw a woman being led away in hand cuffs by the police.
The arrested father’s brother – an SAS hero
Mark Billingham MBE fought in Iraq and won the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery after capturing an IRA sniper by using himself as bait.
Before TV fame he was bodyguard to Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Kate Moss, Russell Crowe and Clint Eastwood.
‘I’ve barely slept because the police have been using our back garden for access and were out there all night.
‘I don’t know what to say about the whole thing. It’s very sad, and I feel sorry for the little girl.’
Detective Inspector Jim Colclough, from the homicide unit, said: ‘We are treating this as a domestic incident and are not looking for anyone else in connection with the child’s death.
‘Our family liaison team are supporting the family of the little girl, who are naturally devastated by her death.
‘Our thoughts remain with them.’
Police vans, patrol cars and officers were still at the scene on Valley View this morning, battling heavy snow.
David Taylor, 76, who lives opposite the property said the property had a history of tragic events after another recent death.
‘He had only moved in around two months ago,’ he said, talking of Bill Billingham.
‘That bungalow is jinxed. The girl who was living there before committed suicide.
‘It’s all old age pensioners here so it was unusual to see him living in the bungalow.
‘I can’t believe what’s happened and it being such a young girl is tragic. This is a lovely area and it’s so shocking it’s happened here.
‘I heard a commotion about 9.30pm and when I looked out I could see about six police cars and an ambulance.
‘We thought it was a drug raid.’
At this stage it is not clear whether the man arrested lived at the property which has been cordoned off by police nor how he came about his injuries.
Brownhills councillor Ken Ferguson said: ‘It’s absolutely devastating news. I’m shell shocked to be honest. It’s horrendous, I still can’t take it in.
‘We had an incident in Brownhills West last year when someone drove into an ambulance and you think something horrific like that is a one off.
‘Someone so young has had their life taken away, I can’t comprehend it.’
Chief Inspector Gareth Morris said: ‘Went to this heartbreaking incident last night and to see the officers who first responded.
‘The death of a child is so hard hitting and my thoughts and those of the officers are with the family and friends.’
A post-mortem has been arranged for tomorrow to establish the precise cause of death.