Mick Philpott, the man accused of starting a fire which killed his six children, is alleged to have preyed on vulnerable young women who were at their “rock bottom” and treated his wife “like a slave”.
During tense exchanges at Nottingham Crown Court the 56-year-old denied hurting Mairead Philpott by bringing his mistress to live with them at the family house in Victory Road, Derby.
The married couple’s six children died in a blaze at the semi-detached home last May. “Can you help who you fall in love with? … ”I didn't actually want two women in my life. It just happened and I regret it,“ said Mr Philpott.
Shaun Smith, representing Mrs Philpott, who along with another man is also accused of the children’s manslaughter, put it to her husband: ”You regarded her as your property, didn't you? Your slave? That's what she was, wasn't she?“
Mr Philpott replied by shaking his head as he sat in the witness box.
Mr Smith alleged that Mairead, who was mother to six of Mr Philpott’s 17 children, was tasked with all the domestic duties – even after her husband’s lover Lisa Willis moved in. Ms Willis had four children by Mr Philpott.
”She (Mairead) did everything in that house, didn't she, even when you were having a relationship with another woman? said Mr Smith.Mr Philpott denied treating his wife as if he “owned her” insisting: “Mairead wasn't leaving, Mairead wasn't going anywhere.” But Mr Smith said that his wife of seven years had nowhere to go – rejecting Mr Philpott’s suggestion that she could have gone and lived with his elderly mother where he claimed the unemployed driver could continue to control her.
Mr Smith said there was a “pattern” to Mr Philpott’s relationships in that he was attracted to younger women. Mairead was 19 when the couple met and he was 43. Lisa Willis was 16 or 17 when their affair started, the lawyer said.
”Each (was) isolated from their families by you,“ said Mr Smith. Mr Philpott insisted Ms Willis was 18 when they met and denied trying to separate her from her family. He also denied being attracted to younger women who were at their “rock bottom”.
The court heard that Mr Philpott had initially visited Ms Willis to have sex and help with the decorating. He said that he had asked his wife’s permission before moving his lover into the house.
Mr Philpott denied that Mairead was unhappy with the arrangement in which he slept with the women on alternate nights. ”She sure didn't show it and she sure didn't act it,“ he said.
The fatal fire which killed the children as they slept in their bedrooms occurred the day before a court hearing which was to settle the custody status of the four children Ms Willis’s had with Mr Philpott.
She had sparked an acrimonious battle when she walked out on the house three months before the blaze.
Mr Smith told Philpott: ”She (Lisa) escaped you, didn't she? Mairead had nowhere to escape to, did she? You know that, don't you, Mr Philpott?“ Mr Philpott denied the allegations. The court has previously heard Mr Philpott admit to hitting both women when they clashed over disciplining his daughter.
Money from both women’s jobs was paid into his bank account long with the family’s benefits. The jury was also told how the Philpotts and their co-accused Paul Mosley had sex together on the night of the tragedy and again on occasions afterwards including one occasion which was captured on a police surveillance tape.
Mr Philpott claimed that had failed to tell police about the sexual relationships or cannabis use which went on in the house because he was “ashamed” and it was irrelevant to the inquiry. The three defendants deny all the charges against them. The trial continues.