Friday 22 September 2017

Two held after five children perish in house fire

A 38-year-old man has been arrested by detectives investigating the fire deaths of five children.

The five: 10-year-old Jade Philpott, and her siblings John(9), Jack (7), Jessie (6) and five-year-old Jayden were all killed in a blaze at their home.

The man's arrest followed that of a 28-year-old woman who was being held on suspicion of murder. She remains in police custody in Derbyshire for questioning.

The children died after a fire broke out at their home in Allenton, Derby, in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Their 13-year-old brother, Duwayne, who was also in the semi-detached property at the time of the blaze, remains in a critical condition in hospital in Birmingham.

The father of the five children has been named as Mick Philpott, an unemployed man who previously made the news for having families with his wife and mistress living under the same roof.

The 54-year-old former baker had demanded a bigger council house through a TV documentary because he claimed he could not properly look after the two women and his 17 children in a three-bedroom, semi-detached home.

Tragic

Fire crews were at the scene within three minutes of being called and managed to rescue all eight members of the family but the children died of smoke inhalation.

Police said they were keeping an open mind as to the cause of the incident but had made the arrest in order to secure evidence.

"This is a sad and tragic case. It would be wrong to speculate as to what is the cause. It is potentially a murder inquiry," temporary chief constable of Derbyshire police Steve Cotterill said. Emergency services were called to the house on Victory Road in Allenton just before 4am.

A neighbour, who gave her name only as Kaye, said she saw flames coming out of the house and "loads of ambulances", and described it as a "horrible, horrible" scene.

"I just saw the babies going to the ambulance because it was parked outside our house," she said.

"The children are friends with my kids. They played with my children. They were okay, good kids."

Mr Cotterill said eight people were living in the house on a permanent basis, though there might be other people who stayed there on an ad hoc basis.

Rescue

The children had been asleep upstairs. "There appear to have been valiant attempts by the father to rescue his children," he said.

Police said eight people, two adults and six children, were taken to the Royal Derby Hospital.

"Police can confirm that five children have died in a house fire on Victory Road, Derby," a spokesperson said later.

"A sixth child aged 13 has been transferred to hospital in Birmingham for specialist treatment.

"The two adults are not seriously injured.

"The ages of the children who died range from five up to 10 years old. "The investigation into the cause of the fire is at a very early stage and it would be wrong to speculate at this time.

"As the investigation continues further information will be released to the public. Anyone who can help the police inquiry into the incident should contact the police." An investigation into the fire's cause will be carried out by the police and fire service.

Irish Independent

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