Video: Arsonist 'poured petrol through letterbox' to start fire that killed six children
A HOUSE fire that killed six children was started after petrol was poured through a letterbox and set alight, it emerged yesterday.
The arsonist may have targeted the family because of a grudge against the owner Mick Philpott's "celebrity status" in the community, police said.
Mr Philpott (54) yesterday made a direct appeal for help, speaking for the first time since six of his 18 children were killed last Friday in Derby.
Thanking the emergency services and friends who tried to get into the house to rescue the children, he repeatedly broke down in tears.
He added that he and his wife, Mairead, had decided to donate the organs of their 13-year-old son Duwayne.
He said: "I can't express my gratitude to everyone concerned. We decided that we will donate his organs to save other children because it makes us happy and takes a bit of the pain away."
Referring to hundreds of tributes left outside his home, Mr Philpott said: "I could not believe it.
"We grew up in a community that has had its problems with violence and to see how it has come together is too overwhelming. We have had messages from America and France.
"My heart goes out to the poor people from the fire brigade who saw what we saw."
Mr and Mrs Philpott were downstairs in the house when it was attacked. The petrol set the house alight and the fumes overcame the children sleeping upstairs. Jade (10), John (9), Jack (7), Jessie (6), and five-year-old Jayden died at the scene, while Duwayne died in hospital on Monday.
Derbyshire Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cotterill said: "The seat was inside the front door below the letterbox and there are clear indications that petrol was used."
A 38-year-old man and 28-year-old woman arrested on the day of the blaze were released without charge 24 hours later.
Mr Philpott hit the headlines in 2006 after demanding a bigger council home, having moved his mistress Lisa Willis and their kids in with him, his wife and their children. He has also appeared on television programmes with Ann Widdecombe and Jeremy Kyle. (© Daily Telegraph, London)