Woman whose young cousin was stabbed to death by father launches petition to bring knife angel sculpture to city

Eight-year-old Mylee Billingham was stabbed to death in January 2018.
Eight-year-old Mylee Billingham was stabbed to death in January 2018.
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The cousin of an eight-year-old girl who was stabbed to death by her father has launched a petition after Sheffield City Council rejected plans to bring a sculpture aimed at tackling knife crime to the city.

William Billingham, 56, was jailed for life last year for the murder of his daughter Mylee on January 20, 2018.

The knife angel sculpture when it visited Hull earlier this year.

The knife angel sculpture when it visited Hull earlier this year.

Billingham stabbed his daughter to death with a kitchen knife in an act of revenge against his ex-partner.

The unemployed factory worker is serving a minimum term of 27 years after he was convicted of murder and making a threat to kill Mylee's mother, Miss Taundry, while holding a knife to her neck.

Mylee's cousin Hayley Lowe, 25, said: "Mylee's death has torn everyone apart.

"I never knew the true extent of knife crime before it hit me and my family.

"So many people around the country have been devastated by this crime, but no one seems to want to help."

Read more: The Sharp Edge: A Yorkshire Post investigation into the devastating impact of knife crime in Yorkshire
Miss Lowe, from Heeley in Sheffield, has launched the 'Bring the Knife Angel to Sheffield' petition as she believes the national monument against violence and aggression would act as a deterrent in the city and help those affected by knife crime.

She said: "I would love to bring the knife angel to Sheffield.

"Our region is the second highest in knife crime so we quite clearly have a massive problem.

"There are a lot of families in Sheffield who have lost their kids, their brothers, sisters and other family members to this crime and they want it here as well as a memorial type thing and something to help them in their grieving process. But it is also to educate, not just the young kids, but everyone."

Read more: Amazing monument to lives lost through knife crime unveiled in Hull city centre
The 27ft high sculpture was designed and created by artist Alfie Bradley. He created the project using over 100,000 knives surrendered and collected in nationwide amnesties in 2015/16.

The sculpture, which was permanently homed at the British Ironworks Centre in Oswestry, began its tour around the UK in 2018 and has so far visited Liverpool, Hull, and Coventry.

Miss Lowe is not the only person calling for the knife angel to visit Sheffield.

Anne Gray, whose 19-year-old grandson Jamie Stuart was stabbed to death while walking home from a party in Parson Cross in 2011, previously wrote to the council urging them to host the sculpture.

Miss Lowe now claims the council have rejected pleas to bring the knife angel to Sheffield.

Read more: Yorkshire woman whose brother was stabbed to death campaigning to rid streets of knife crime
She said: "The council think its inappropriate to have this statue here but they won't say why.

"I need people to come together and prove to them that we we do want this magnificent piece of art.

"I want to raise awareness of just how many people have been affected by knife crime. I want to change the council's decision and host the knife angel where it is needed.

Councillor Paul Wood, the council's cabinet member for community safety, is tasked with making the final decision on the knife angel and said he is currently checking costs.

“I’ve not made a decision, I’m just getting things in place to make a decision," he said.

“My officers contacted the people responsible for moving it. Wherever we site it it’s going to take some work because they have to put a base in to secure it and a crane to lift it. The costs at the bottom end would be just over £10,000 but more than likely to be around £15,000.

“Then we would need to have a deal to run a campaign for 28 days on knife crime which means I would then have to tie up officer time, community workers and all the project work that would need doing. So I’m getting a full costing of it before I really make any decision.”