Sunday 18 February 2018

Dad accused of killing six of his children in blaze was 'shocked to be arrested', court told

Emma Sword

A FATHER accused of killing his six children in a house fire told police he could not believe he was being arrested over the blaze, a court has heard.

Det Con Steven Barnes, from Derbyshire Police, told Nottingham Crown Court that Michael Philpott said: "I just can't believe this is happening" when he was arrested along with his wife Mairead over the fatal house fire at their three-bedroom house on Victory Road in Allenton, Derby, last May.

Philpott cried in the dock this morning as the constable read out his interview with police on April 29 following his arrest for the fire which claimed the lives of his children on May 11.

At the start of the interview at Ripley police station, Philpott told Det Con Barnes: "I just can't believe this is happening. I don't think you understand what it is like losing six children," the court heard.

Describing the night of the fire, Philpott told Det Con Barnes he and his wife had been woken up by the downstairs smoke alarm.

Philpott said he did not see any flames when he went into the living room, just a "bright light".

He told the constable he did not know there was a fire until flames and black smoke "shot" out through the living room doorway, Det Con Barnes told the court.

Philpott told the constable he tried several times to smash the window into his daughter Jade's back bedroom but could not get into the house.

"This horrible thing, I dream it every night," he told the police officer.

He told Det Con Barnes he dreamed about not being able to get into his daughter's bedroom and that he felt "far away" from her.

"I smashed the windows about five times. I wish now I'd got in. It would have been me in that morgue and not my kids," Philpott said, the court heard.

During the interview, Philpott told officers the day before the fire had gone as normal with him taking the children to school then playing snooker with Paul Mosley at the house before going to bed with Mairead in the conservatory.

Six siblings died as a result of the fire on May 11 - Jade, 10, and brothers John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six and Jayden, five, died during the blaze.

Their brother Duwayne, 13, was taken to Derby Royal Hospital and transferred to Birmingham Children's Hospital, but died three days later.

Their parents, Mick and Mairead Philpott, and a third defendant, Paul Mosley, 46, are on trial over the deaths of the children. They have each denied six counts of manslaughter.

The prosecution claim the children's deaths were the result of a botched "plan" to frame 56-year-old Philpott's former mistress, Lisa Willis.

The court has heard how Miss Willis, 29, left the home she had shared with the couple and their six children in February, taking her five children with her.

The jury has been told Philpott and Miss Willis were due to face each other at a court hearing over access to the five children, four of which he had fathered, on the day of the blaze.

Philpott said the children had been distressed by the departure of Miss Willis and her children.

He told the constable that usually Jessie, John and Jack shared the front bedroom of the three-bedroom house.

Duwyane and Jayden shared one of the back bedrooms, while Jade was in the second, Philpott told the officer.

But after Miss Willis left, Philpott said, the children often swapped rooms because they were upset and missed the other children, the court heard.

He said on the night of the fire he and Mairead had left the house to get some weed for Mosley, who looked after the children while they were gone.

He told the police none of them smoked it once they returned to the house at around 10pm.

The policeman said Philpott explained that Miss Willis and her children had lived with him and his wife and that they had shared a three-way relationship until she left in February, taking her five children with her.

"I treated Lisa like she was a queen. For the past four years I have given her all my attention and not my wife," Philpott told him.

He said he had no idea why Miss Willis had left the house.

"At first I blamed Mairead for a bit, then I realised it was down to Lisa. She didn't want Mairead to be mother to her kids anymore.

"Mairead brought them children up, not Lisa. I wanted my kids back, my kids are everything to me, my kids are my life, you don't understand that," Philpott said during the interview.

 

Press Association

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