Monday 22 January 2018

Fire deaths of six kids: Man and woman arrested

Mick Philpott and wife Mairead speaking to the media following the fire. Photo: PA
Mick Philpott and wife Mairead speaking to the media following the fire. Photo: PA

A MAN and woman were arrested today by detectives investigating the deaths of six children in a house fire.

The victims, whose ages ranged from 13 to five, died after an arson attack on a house in Derby on May 11.

Derbyshire Police said a 55-year-old man and a 31-year-old woman from from Derby were arrested this morning. They were not named.

Petrol was used to start the blaze at the house in Victory Road, Allenton, Derby.

Jade Philpott, 10, and brothers John, nine, Jack, seven, Jessie, six, and Jayden, five, all perished in the blaze, while Duwayne Philpott, 13, died of his injuries in Birmingham Children's Hospital two days' later.

Announcing today's arrests Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cotterill said: "I suspect there may still be people with crucial information who have not yet come forward to speak to us.

"In view of the arrests, I would urge anyone who may have been holding back, not felt comfortable to voice their concerns or not had the confidence, to do so now.

"They have my personal reassurance that we will deal with their information sensitively.

"We still need information to help us in this inquiry.

"The latest arrests are just one step further in the investigation.

"It is absolutely vital that if you know anything you think could help us, come forward now, do not wait any longer. It is important that we find justice for these six young children."

Mr Cotterill added: "Although the fire happened more than two weeks ago, this is a complex inquiry and it will take time for us to piece together the events from that tragic evening.

"I know this case has deeply affected the local community and residents want answers as to what happened and why.

"But I would ask them to be patient and to continue to show the excellent support they have given us to date."

Anyone with information is being urged to contact the police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

The force said it was increasing its presence on Victory Road with a mobile police station returning to the area along with extra patrols.

Forensic examinations are continuing at the house.

Five days after the arson attack the children's father Mick Philpott, 55, faced the media with his wife Mairead, 31.

Mr Philpott, who repeatedly wiped away tears, thanked those who tried to rescue his children and members of the local community for their support.

He said: "First of all, I want to thank my three eldest children because they have helped us cope.

"And then there's a young lad who tried to get in the house the same as myself.

"Then of course there is the four firemen, the police, the ambulances, the doctors and nurses - everybody who tried to help save our children.

"We can't express our gratitude enough. It's not just us that have suffered, it's them as well - it's everybody."

Talking to the media for about two and a half minutes, Mr Philpott repeatedly paused to compose himself and said he and his wife had decided to donate Duwayne's organs for transplant.

"That makes us happy and it takes a bit of the pain away," he said.

In the aftermath of the fire, police said Mr Philpott made "valiant" efforts to rescue his children during the blaze.

Said to have fathered 17 children, Mr Philpott is well known in the local community because of media reports about his large family.

Mr Philpott was dubbed "Shameless Mick" in 2007 after demanding a larger council house.

He later appeared in a reality TV show alongside former government minister Ann Widdecombe.

A mobile police office van was parked outside the Philpotts' semi-detached house in Victory Road this morning.

A uniformed officer stood guard outside the property, which was taped off.

Numerous floral tributes left following the blaze still lay outside the house.

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