Derby

Derby death blaze: Mick Philpott denies starting fire

  • 13 March 2013
  • From the section Derby
Mick Philpott
Image caption Mick Philpott said he and his children had received death threats

A man who denies killing six of his children in a house fire has told a court he has suspicions about who started the blaze.

Mick Philpott, 56, denies any involvement in starting the fire at his Derby home last May.

He said he and his children had received death threats after the family appeared on ITV's Jeremy Kyle Show.

Mr Philpott and two others deny six counts of manslaughter.

His wife Mairead Philpott, 31, and Paul Mosley 46, are accused of starting the fire in a bid to frame Mr Philpott's former mistress Lisa Willis, 29, who was involved in a custody battle over the four children she shared with him.

'Silent calls'

On the first day of the defence case Mick Philpott told the court that Amanda Cousins, the sister of Ms Willis, had threatened to kill his wife and their children after the Philpotts had turned up at her home.

He said he and his wife had also received silent calls from a withheld number in the weeks leading up to the fire.

Talking about his regret at appearing on TV, he told Nottingham Crown Court he needed a bigger house as the family was growing, but people were disgusted at him having two lovers and 11 children.

Until February 2012, Mr Philpott lived in a four-bedroom house with his wife Mairead and their six children as well as Ms Willis with her five children.

"The children and myself got death threats. We were called rats; the scum of the earth," he told the court.

'Inseparable bond'

Jurors heard that a "large number of people" had keys to the house and the door was usually left unlocked.

He told the court that benefits paid to his wife and Ms Willis were paid into his account but he left his bank cards out for both women to use.

Image caption Five of the children died at the Victory Road house and the eldest died in hospital

"They never had to ask for money," he said.

Mr Philpott said he had no idea that Ms Willis was going to leave him.

Asked about their relationship, he said: "At that particular time I thought that me and Lisa had this bond that was inseparable."

He said he had discussed it with his wife because she was "concerned" about it.

Mr Philpott told the court that he was spending a lot of time with his wife and slept in the evenings with Ms Willis.

Divorce plea

He said he had asked his wife for a divorce "three to four times" so he could marry Ms Willis.

He said: "It was a well known fact by everybody that Lisa wanted me to herself. But Mairead wouldn't leave me, she wasn't going anywhere."

Jurors heard that he and his wife regularly discussed with Ms Willis what would happen should there be a split.

"We always said that if we ever split up we would never stop each other from seeing the children," he said.

Asked how Mr and Mrs Philpott's children felt when Ms Willis Left, Mr Philpott said they were "distraught".

"They were so upset, so distraught. It was horrible," he said.

He told the court that he had taken some tablets with brandy after Ms Willis left.

"Was this a suicide attempt?" Mr Orchard asked him.

"No, it was self-pity," Mr Philpott replied.

Mr Philpott also denied prosecution witness claims that he ever mentioned fire, burning or petrol in the weeks before the fatal blaze.

Jade Philpott, 10, John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, and Jayden, five, perished in the fire at their house in Victory Road, in Allenton.

Their brother Duwayne, 13, died two days later at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

The trial continues.

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