Derby house fire: Parents will not be at funeral of their six children
MICK and Mairead Philpott, the couple charged with the murder of their six children following a fire at their home, will not be attending their children's funerals, it was announced today.
The funerals of the six Philpott children who died in a house fire in Derby will take place on June 22, followed by a burial at Nottingham Road cemetery in the Chaddesden area of the city.
Duwayne Philpott, 13, his sister Jade, 10, and brothers John, nine, Jack, seven, Jessie, six and Jayden, five, died in the blaze at their home in May. Their bodies were released by the Derby coroner yesterday.
Their parents, Mick and Mairead Philpott, have been charged with their murder and it is believed they were keen to be allowed to go to the service. However their priest, Father Alan Burbidge, who will conduct the service, said this morning the couple would not be present.
A prison service source said a full risk assessment would have to be carried out before the couple could be allowed to attend the funeral. No application could be made until the date and time of the funeral were announced.
With feelings running high in the area, police and the prison authorities would have to assess whether the Philpotts would be safe attending the ceremony.
Father Burbidge said: "We have had confirmation this morning that the parents of the six children will not be attending the funeral which will take place at St Mary’s Catholic Church at 11am on June 22.
"The family have chosen that church as a venue because they are Catholic children and they wanted a full requiem mass in a Catholic church."
Over £14,000 (€17,400) has been raised by volunteers who set up a fund to pay for the funeral and burials, and organisers said today they had reached their target to cover the costs.
Each of the children will be brought to the service in a horse-drawn hearse before being taken to a private burial at Nottingham Road Cemetery.
Mr and Mrs Philpott originally wanted to hold the funeral at Derby Cathedral because of the amount of people it was thought would want to attend.
Mr Philpott, 55, and his 31-year-old wife are due to appear at Nottingham Crown Court for the second time on Monday. They remain in custody.
Speaking before the announcement, Derbyshire police’s Assistant Chief Constable, Steve Cotterill, who is leading the murder investigation, said: "The release of the bodies is down to the coroner and a decision on whether or not Mick and Mairead Philpott will be allowed to attend the service rests solely with the respective governors at the prisons where they are being kept in custody.
"Our police investigations are ongoing and we are preparing a file for the Crown Prosecution Service."
A Prison Service spokesman said: "We do not comment on the movements of individual prisoners.
"Prisoners can apply for escorted visits to attend the funeral of a close relative but it will always be subject to a strict risk assessment where public protection is key."
Anthony Slater, from the DJ’s trust set up to raise money for the funerals, said: "We have just over £14,000 in the fund at the moment which will pay for the burial costs and the headstones. I have spoken to the family and they still plan for the children to be brought to the service and taken to the cemetery via horse-drawn hearses.
"In terms of money, I think we have hit what we need to hit to cover the funeral costs."