Mick Philpott gets life in prison for manslaughter of six children
Published 04/04/2013 | 11:21
Mick Philpott has been sentenced to life in prison for the manslaughter of his six children.
His wife Mairead Philpott and their friend Paul Mosley have each been giving a sentence of 17 years.
During sentencing at Nottingham Crown Court today, the judge praised neighbours who tried to rescue the children from the blaze which claimed their lives.
She said no-one could have done more on “that dreadful night”.
Philpott initially remained calm and stared at the floor as his sentence was read out.
However, when someone from the gallery shouted out “die Mick” he became animated and performed obscene gestures
Judge Mrs Justice Thirlwall said Philpott was the "driving force" behind the plot as she ordered him to serve a minimum of 15 years in prison, and told him: "You are a disturbingly dangerous man. Your guiding principle is what Mick Philpott wants, Mick Philpott gets. You have no moral compass."
Mairead Philpott wept as she was jailed.
Mosley showed no reaction, sitting motionless and looking over at public gallery.
Family members in the public gallery applauded as the judge finished her sentencing.
One shouted: "Die, Mick, die."
Another said: "See you, Mairead. Hope you enjoy life on your own."
"Your own babies," another called out.
In response, Philpott smiled and made an obscene gesture as he was led from the dock.
The sentencing had been delayed from yesterday at Nottingham Crown Court as Mrs Justice Thirlwall wanted more time to consider sentences.
She said she had listened with care during the whole trial and added: "I want to reflect further before moving forward to the sentencing exercise."
Philpott, 56, his 32-year-old wife and 46-year-old Mosley were yesterday each found guilty by a jury of six separate counts of manslaughter following an eight-week trial.
Earlier, the judge heard that Philpott had previously served time in prison for attempted murder and at the time of the blaze was on bail for a violent road rage incident.
In 1978 he was jailed for seven years after he repeatedly stabbed a former girlfriend when she decided she no longer wanted to be in a relationship with him.
He also received a concurrent five-year sentence for grievous bodily harm with intent after he attacked the woman's mother as she rushed to her daughter's aid.
A week before the fatal fire which killed six children at the family home in Victory Road, Derby, Philpott had appeared in court and pleaded guilty to common assault but denied dangerous driving. He was awaiting trial.
The court heard that he punched another driver, whose teenage daughter was in the car, after Philpott swerved in front of him and forced him to stop because he believed he had pulled out in front of him at a roundabout.
In 1991 he received a two-year conditional discharge for assault occasioning actual bodily harm after he headbutted a colleague, and in 2010 he was given a police caution after slapping his wife and dragging her outside by her hair.
Anthony Orchard QC, representing Philpott, said his client's conviction for attempting to murder his previous girlfriend was a "long time ago" and there was no evidence of anything like that being repeated.
But the judge interrupted and told him: "There's been violence in every single relationship, has there not?"
Prosecutors said the trio started the fire in an attempt to frame Philpott's ex, 29-year-old Lisa Willis, after she left the family home with her children three months earlier.
She and her five children, four of them fathered by Philpott, had lived with the couple and their six children at the family home for 10 years until she became unhappy with the domestic set-up.
Jurors heard that it could have been the desire to get her and the children, or an attempt to weaken her case in an upcoming court hearing over residency of the children, or even the hope of a bigger council house, which could have motivated the defendants to set the fire.
In mitigation today, the defendants' barristers told the judge the Philpotts loved their children and never intended to cause them any harm.
Mr Orchard said: "Despite Mr Philpott's faults, he was a very good father and loved those children. All the witnesses, even Lisa Willis, agree on this.
"There's no evidence at any stage that he deliberately harmed any of them."
The fire was part of a plan which went "disastrously wrong", Mr Orchard said, because they did not realise how quickly the fire would take hold at the semi-detached council house and leave them unable to rescue the sleeping children from their beds.
But the judge interjected and said: "If the plan had been successful, the effect on the children would have been this, would it not - they would have been awoken in their beds with their house on fire and their father coming in to rescue them.
"A terrifying experience."
Shaun Smith QC, for Mrs Philpott, told the judge: "The entirety of the evidence in this case is that Mairead Philpott was an extremely good mother to all 11 children.
"No-one, we respectfully submit, can dispute the grief that she feels.
"Nobody can even understand it. It's palpable. It has been visible."
Her "real sentence", he said, will be the fact that not only has she lost her children but that she can no longer be involved with any others when she is eventually released from prison.
"She will be forever known as a child killer," he said.
Mr Smith said there was no evidence "any of these children were in any sort of danger or peril prior to that night (of the fire) whatsoever".
He said: "They were well looked-after.
"They were well-nourished.
"They were happy children."