Derby

Derby fire deaths: Mick and Mairead Philpott arrested

Mairead and Mick Philpott
Image caption Five days after the attack Mr and Mrs Philpott held a brief press conference

The mother and father of six children who died in a house fire in Derby have been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Mick Philpott, 55, and his wife Mairead, 31, were arrested in Derby on Tuesday and are due to be questioned.

Jade Philpott, 10, and brothers John, nine, Jack, eight, Jessie, six and Jayden, five, died in the house fire on Victory Road on 11 May.

Another brother, Duwayne, 13, died three days later in hospital.

All six children were asleep upstairs when the fire began in the early hours.

Derbyshire Police said petrol was used to start the fire which was believed to have begun below the house's letterbox.

Image caption Mick Philpott made headlines in 2006 after asking for a larger council house for his family

Five days after the attack Mr and Mrs Philpott held a brief press conference and thanked those who tried to rescue the children and members of the local community for their support.

Speaking after the arrests, Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cotterill said: "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.

"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.

"What we need to do now is carefully take our time, question the two individuals concerned and piece it together with everything else we know to date."

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Media captionChief Constable Steve Cotterill: "We still need the support of the public out there"

ACC Cotterill added police had increased their presence again on Victory Road and a mobile police station would return to the area.

He also confirmed forensic examination of the scene was ongoing and the police cordon was unlikely to be lifted in the near future.

Large numbers of floral tributes left outside the house have now been removed by officers and placed in a nearby church.

The family attracted attention in 2006 when Mr Philpott asked the council for a larger house to accommodate his wife, girlfriend and 14 children.

In 2007, former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe spent a week living with the family as part of an ITV documentary and Mr Philpott also appeared on the Jeremy Kyle Show.

On 11 May, a 38-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of murder. They were both released without charge the following day.

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