Monday 22 December 2014

Philpott trial: former mistress denies threat to kill

Emma Sword and Lucy Boguwstawski

Published 14/02/2013 | 12:43

Mick Philpott and wife Mairead

THE former mistress of a man accused of the manslaughter of his six children has denied threatening to kill him.

Lisa Willis, 29, said she did not made a phone call to Mick Philpott days before the house fire which killed the children at Victory Road in Derby in England on May 11.

 

During cross examination at Nottingham Crown Court this morning, Anthony Orchard QC asked Miss Willis: "There was a threat made wasn't there? 'Leave me, my sister, my family alone or I will kill you'?"

 

He added: "You made that threat at 7.59pm on May 1 to Mr Philpott didn't you?"

 

Miss Willis replied: "No I never made any threat whatsoever."

 

It came after comments allegedly made on Facebook by Philpott the same day, in which he claimed the father of one of Miss Willis's children was her sister's husband.

 

In his opening on Tuesday, prosecutor Richard Latham QC told the jury of seven men and five women that Philpott, 56, had planned to frame Miss Willis for the fire after she left the house she shared with him and his wife taking their four children with her and another child she had with a previous partner.

 

Philpott and his 31-year-old wife Mairead are on trial for the manslaughter of the Philpotts' six children along with a third defendant, 46-year-old Paul Mosley.

 

Jade, 10, and her brothers John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, Jayden, five, and Duwayne, 13, all perished after a fire which engulfed their home in Victory Road, Allenton, Derby, as they slept in their beds in the early hours of May 11 last year.

 

All three defendants have denied the charges.

 

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Page 2: 12:39Shaun Smith QC, Mrs Philpott's barrister, asked Miss Willis about the events in the aftermath of her leaving the family home.

 

She had lived an unconventional lifestyle with the Philpotts for a decade. In her evidence she told the court she and Mrs Philpott would alternate the nights they shared a bed with Philpott.

 

A total of 11 children also lived in the house. The court heard that five of the six children who died were those of Mick and Mairead Philpott, while Duwayne was Mrs Philpott's son from a previous relationship.

 

Miss Willis had five children, four of which were fathered by Philpott. She took all five youngsters with her when she left the Victory Road council house on February 1, under the ruse that she was taking them swimming.

 

Under cross-examination today, Mr Smith asked her about the time she finally plucked up the courage to leave, leaving Mrs Philpott behind.

 

"When she was left behind at the beginning she was the one who was trying to get you to come back by texting?" he asked.

 

"Yes," Miss Willis answered.

 

"You know that Mairead tried to take her own life?" Mr Smith asked.

 

"Do you know that in the suicide note that she was saying you were like the sister she never had and she loved you?"

 

Miss Willis said she did not know exactly what Mrs Philpott had written but agreed that they had been like sisters, that they were close and confided in one another.

 

She said she remembered Mrs Philpott confiding in her that she had been abused when she was a child, that she had been raped in her teenage years, and had been involved with a church group when she was 13 because she was trying to deal with the responsibility of looking after her siblings.

 

Jurors heard that Mrs Philpott also told her about leaving school before getting her GCSE results, and an episode in which an ex-boyfriend cut off all her hair.

 

Mr Smith went on: "When she was 15 or 16 she met somebody she really cared for and they had Duwayne.

 

"That relationship came to an end, it just came to an end, and it was about that time that she met or started to hear about Mick because it was something to do with her local darts.

 

"Did you get the impression that, like you, she was at a particularly low ebb when she met Mick?"

 

Miss Willis replied: "It had its ups and downs."

 

Mr Smith told the court Philpott took on the responsibility of Duwayne and went on to have a child with Mrs Philpott, which is where Miss Willis came in.

 

Miss Willis agreed when Mr Smith put it to her: "When you came on the scene he was pretty much, as far as she was concerned, her guardian angel.

 

"And then you came along."

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