Father denies starting fatal blaze
A man accused of killing his six children in a house fire has told a court he did not start the blaze but that he has his suspicions about who did.
Mick Philpott, 56, denied any involvement in starting the fire at his home in Victory Road, Allenton, Derby, in the early hours of May 11 last year.
Jade, 10, John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, and Jayden, five, died during the blaze. Their brother Duwayne, 13, was taken to Derby Royal Hospital and transferred to Birmingham Children's Hospital but died three days later.
Taking the witness box at the start of his defence case at Nottingham Crown Court, Philpott said he had nothing to do with the blaze. Anthony Orchard QC, defending Philpott, asked him: "Do you know who did?" to which he replied: "No." "Do you have your suspicions?" "I do," Philpott answered.
Philpott, who along with his 31-year-old wife Mairead and a third defendant, 46-year-old Paul Mosley, denies six separate counts of manslaughter, told the court he regretted appearing on TV's Jeremy Kyle Show with his family. Mr Orchard asked him: "Why did you decide to do it?" He said: "We all decided. At that time we needed a bigger house." The court heard that the children were bullied following their appearance on the programme, and Philpott said he and his children received death threats following the family's TV appearance.
He was asked about claims that the fire was set last year because the family wanted a bigger house. Philpott told the court: "The house was quite sufficient." He said his wife Mairead was the sole carer for the children while he would play snooker and darts with them and help them with their school work.
During the trial, which started last month, jurors heard that Philpott shared the family home with his wife and their six children, all of whom died in the fire, and also with his live-in mistress, Lisa Willis. Miss Willis, 29, lived in the property with her five children, four of whom were fathered by Philpott, until finally walking out with the youngsters in February last year.
Philpott told the court he had no clue beforehand that Miss Willis was going to leave. Asked about their relationship, he said: "At that particular time I thought that me and Lisa had this bond that was inseparable." He had discussed it with his wife because she was "concerned" about it, he said.
Mr Orchard asked him: "How were you treating Lisa?" Philpott replied: "I treated her like a queen." He told the court that he was spending a lot of time with his wife and slept in the evenings with Miss Willis. Asked if his wife was going to leave, Philpott answered: "No, Mairead was not leaving. She was not going anywhere. Mairead will always be my wife, even if we got divorced." The court heard that Philpott has asked his wife for a divorce three or four times over a period of years.
Philpott told the court that he and his wife regularly discussed with Miss Willis what would happen should there be a split. "We always said that if we ever split up we would never stop each other from seeing the children," he told the jury. Miss Willis left the Philpott home in February, taking her five children with her. Asked about the effect of this on his and Mairead's six children, Philpott said they were "distraught". He told the court that he had taken some tablets with brandy after Miss Willis left. Asked if it was a suicide attempt, Philpott replied: "No, it was self-pity."