Derby fire deaths: Mick Philpott 'didn't bathe for 12 weeks'

Mick Philpott Mick Philpott denied treating his wife like a slave

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A man accused of starting a fire which killed six of his children said petrol was found on his clothes because he did not have a bath or shower for 12 weeks.

Michael Philpott told jurors his family had been "having the bathroom done" but he did wash his face with water.

He said he may have got fuel on his clothes after lending his neighbour a petrol-powered grass strimmer.

Mr Philpott, his wife Mairead Philpott and friend Paul Mosley all deny the manslaughter of the children in Derby.

Mr Philpott, under cross-examination by his wife's counsel, Shaun Smith, told the court he changed his t-shirt every day but did not change his trousers.

He was later told by the prosecution that his wife was "no longer sticking to the story" and that she was "breaking ranks".

'No tears'

Mr Philpott replied: "If she wants to break ranks that's up to her, but again, I did not set fire to the house."

Richard Latham QC, prosecuting, told the court that Mr Philpott controlled his wife and used sweet talk, demands and tantrums to get his own way.

He said: "You ruled number 18 with a rod of iron, didn't you? You wouldn't take dissent."

Mr Philpott replied: "You're talking a lot of rubbish."

Mr Latham continued: "You get what you want by whatever means necessary.

"If all else fails, we throw a sickie, don't we? We start crying or we flop to the ground. And when you cry, there are no tears are there? It's all an act."

Mr Philpott replied: "No."

Earlier, Mr Smith suggested Mr Philpott had been trying to blacken his wife's name by bringing up stories of drugs and sex - an accusation he denied.

Mr Smith then asked him: "Did you start the fire or arrange the fire while Mairead was asleep?"

Mr Philpott began sobbing and said: "I love my kids and I would never endanger them."

Derby fire deaths: Mick Philpott 'didn't bathe for 12 weeks'

Mr Smith suggested there had been a pattern to the women in Mr Philpott's life, noting he was in his 40s when he met both Mairead, who was 19, and Lisa Willis who was 18.

When asked about his decision to bring Ms Willis, his mistress, into the family home, Mr Philpott said: "Can you help who you fall in love with?

"I didn't actually want two women in my life. It just happened and I regret it.

"It might sound strange to you, but I asked Mairead's permission and I got it.

"We was one happy family."

'All about love'

Mr Smith said, before Ms Willis moved in, Mr Philpott would go to her house for sex, leaving Mairead to look after the children, but Mr Philpott replied: "It wasn't just sex, I was helping with the decorating as well."

Mr Smith also asked Mr Philpott about his attitude towards his wife.

He asked: "You regarded her as your property, didn't you? Your slave. That's what she was, wasn't she?"

Duwayne Philpott, 13, Jade Philpott, 10, and brothers John, nine, Jack, seven, Jesse, six, and Jayden, five Five of the children died at the Victory Road house and the eldest died in hospital

"She did everything in that house, didn't she, even when you were having a relationship with another woman?

"Mairead wasn't leaving, Mairead wasn't going anywhere. You think you own her, don't you?"

Shaking his head, Mr Philpott replied: "No."

Mr Smith asked: "It's all about you, isn't it?"

Mr Philpott replied: "It's all about L-O-V-E - love."

Jade Philpott, 10, John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, and Jayden, five, died on the morning of the fire.

The children's half-brother, 13-year-old Duwayne, died in hospital.

The trial continues.

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