Derby fire deaths: Mick Philpott 'no right-minded father'

The Philpotts Philpott was recorded telling his wife to "stick to your story"

Related Stories

"No right-minded father would set a fire with his children inside."

Prosecution barrister James House, speaking ahead of the trial, neatly sums up the challenge which faced detectives and prosecutors in proving who started the fire which killed six children at their home in Derby.

But when investigations got under way, police soon uncovered the motivating factors: a combination of ego, money and sex.

The five youngest children - aged five to 10 - died in their beds, killed by the toxic smoke. The eldest, who was 13, died two days later, also from the effects of breathing in smoke.

Later, a jury had to be convinced those responsible were the parents - Mick and Mairead Philpott. They had already faced the nation's media at a press conference, apparently overcome with grief.

In the build-up to the fire there had been three months of domestic disharmony at the family's home - a semi-detached house on a busy route used by thousands of workers every day to commute to and from the nearby Rolls-Royce factory.

'Controlling and manipulative'

Until last year, as well as Mick and Mairead and their six children, 18 Victory Road had also been home to Mick's mistress Lisa Willis and her five children, four of whom were Mick's.

The Philpott fire deaths trial

Duwayne Philpott, 13, Jade Philpott, 10, and brothers John, nine, Jack, seven, Jesse, six, and Jayden, five

Mick Philpott: Fear and control at Victory Road

Derby fire deaths: Timeline of a tragedy

Three guilty of Philpott fire deaths

Yet by February last year she had left - taking her five children with her. She blamed Mick's controlling and manipulative behaviour for her decision to go.

Mr House said: "There was evidence Mick Philpott was not prepared to accept Lisa Willis was leaving him and taking his children with her.

"He wanted Lisa Willis back and wanted to get the children back. He told a number of witnesses he had a plan."

That plan was to make it look like Lisa, or someone connected to her, had set fire to his house - just hours before she and Mick were due in court over custody of their kids.

One senior detective expressed it in even stronger terms to the BBC.

'Obsessed with sex'

He said: "Mick never got over Lisa leaving him. And he'd lost five child benefits [through his children by Lisa] and five people who worshipped him.

The Jeremy Kyle Show appearance

Jeremy Kyle

Police said Philpott's desire to control his wife was apparent in their interview on The Jeremy Kyle Show.

Mr Kyle asked Mairead about the "dignity" of her living arrangement and Philpott tried to answer for her.

Mr Kyle said: "No, she's going to speak."

Philpott then said to his wife: "Right, you just tell him what we said."

Mr Kyle said: "So you've told her what to say as well?"

Philpott said: "I'll tell you what, I'll say it. Right, you lot are criticising us for being as a threesome. We don't do threesomes, full stop."

"Lisa leaving led to him losing his status, his ego, his money and another route into sex - he's completely obsessed with sex."

Within days of the fire the Philpotts had become suspects. Permission was granted for the police to bug their hotel room.

Officers heard Mick and Mairead discussing the fire and the police investigation.

"You make sure you stick to your story," he said to her, the night before she gave a witness interview to officers.

After their arrest and charge, "sticking to the story" was a phrase heard exchanged again between the pair. This time in the police van that took them to their first court appearance.

They told the trial that was only in reference to not telling the police about details of their sex life - dogging and three-way sex with their friend Paul Mosley.

By last November he too had been charged over the deaths. Forensic scientists found traces of petrol on the Philpotts' clothing and similar results for Mosley.

He had been at the Philpotts' house on the night of the fire and had sex with Mairead on a snooker table, with the support and encouragement of her husband.

Attempted murder conviction

Mick Philpott had been happy to discuss his domestic arrangements with a national TV audience in the past.

Fire damage to landing at 18 Victory Road Jurors were shown photos of fire damage to the landing and stairs

After making press headlines in 2006, when he was calling for a bigger council house, he'd gone onto ITV's The Jeremy Kyle Show.

He'd told that programme he couldn't get work because of his criminal record - a conviction that the judge in the Derby fire case ruled that the jury couldn't be told about.

In July 1978, he was 21 and his former girlfriend, 17. She ended their relationship; He attacked her with a knife as she lay in bed.

Philpott then turned on her mother when she intervened and was later jailed for seven years for attempted murder and grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent.

"His concern about the impact of his previous conviction on the family hearing led to the plan. Therefore, it was one of the prime reasons behind his plan and the evidence to support it," Mr House added.

"Mick Philpott is precisely the sort of character who would act in this way."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Derby



Min. Night 2 °C

BBC Local Live


    Tuesday's Local Live updates have now finished. Wednesday's updates will start at 08:00.

    17:46: Another cold night Kaye Forster BBC Weather

    A few isolated showers will continue this evening and overnight, but for most it will be a dry and clear night.

    The winds will stay fairly brisk and there may be a few isolated icy patches as temperatures will fall to 0C (32F) in rural areas.

    17:43: Remembering Dave Mackay Simon Hare BBC East Midlands Today reporter

    There's been lots of talk today about the idea of a Dave Mackay statue, but you can find out what the man himself thought of the idea at 18:30 on BBC One.

    Dave Mackay in his Scotland kit

    We'll also be speaking to John McGovern and Roy McFarland - two greats of East Midlands football who say they owe so much to the legendary player and manager.

    17:39: Robins takeover

    Ilkeston FC have announced that chairman Dave Mantle has sold the club.

    The takeover has seen the Robins' current general manager Nigel Harrop buy Mantle's 100% stake with a view to further outside investment taking place in the summer.

    17:36: Gritters sent out

    Derbyshire County Council tweets: Temps falling tonight so we're gritting primary routes this evening & again in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

    17:27: Toyota to show new designs BBC Radio Derby

    Updates to two of Toyota's best-selling models will help to safeguard jobs at the firm's Burnaston plant, bosses say.

    The new-look Avensis and Auris will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show later this week.

    17:18: Horse rider broke man's leg

    A man suffered a broken leg when he was kicked by a horse rider at Foremark Reservoir.

    The 58-year-old was attacked after telling a group of riders to stop using picnic benches to mount their horses.

    17:11: Lorry breaks down on M1 BBC Travel

    A broken down lorry is causing delays on the M1 northbound between J29 and J30.

    17:08: Mackay 'calmed everyone down'

    Former Derby County defender Roy McFarland paid tribute to Dave Mackay's achievement in managing the Rams to a second league title in 1975.

    Dave Mackay

    He said: "He had a tough legacy taking over as manager from Brian Clough, in terms of the atmosphere at the club, but he calmed and settled everyone down."

    You can read more from Roy McFarland here.

    16:54: News on the hour Lisa Teanby BBC Radio Derby newsreader

    In my 17:00 bulletin, tributes are paid to Derby County legend Dave Mackay. And bosses say new models of Toyota cars should safeguard jobs in Derbyshire.

    16:49: Best bobby award

    Derbyshire Police wants people to nominate their favourite officers and PCSOs ahead of an awards event in the summer.

    An annual vote for the county's most popular PC has taken place every year since 1986 - with the winner receiving a large silver trophy.

    16:38: Freeview radio Stuart Thomas Head of BBC East Midlands

    BBC Radio Nottingham is now available on channel 720 of Freeview across the East Midlands.

    BBC Radio Nottingham on Freeview

    Derby and Leicester will follow later this year.

    16:28: Midweek action Kirsty Edwards Sports Presenter, BBC East Midlands Today

    I'm just preparing a little package for tonight's football fixtures. Love midweek games - wish we had them every week!

    16:19: Feedback Gavin Bevis BBC Local Live

    What do you think of BBC Local Live? We'd like your feedback about this service.

    16:09: City centre crash Derby Telegraph

    Two cars were involved in a collision which held up lunchtime traffic in Derby on Tuesday.

    15:57: News on the hour Lisa Teanby BBC Radio Derby newsreader

    In my 16:00 bulletin, Derby County say they are considering a permanent memorial for former player and manager Dave Mackay.

    15:49: Police probe peregrine shooting

    BBC News Online has more on Derbyshire Wildlife Trust learning that a peregrine falcon found dead outside its Belper headquarters had been shot.

    Police say they are investigating the "cruel and deliberate act".

    15:38: Pub attack picture appeal

    Police have released a photo of a woman they want to speak to about a pub assault in Derby.

    CCTV still

    A 29-year-old woman suffered a head injury when she was attacked after an argument with two women she did not know at The Paddock, in Mansfield Road, in November.

    15:29: Crash in Burton BBC Travel

    There's been an accident at the junction of Hawfield Lane and Melbourne Avenue in Burton.

    15:18: Club plans Mackay memorial

    Derby County say they are considering how to create a lasting memorial to title-winning manager Dave Mackay, following his death last night.

    Dave Mackay

    A book of condolence has been opened at the iPro Stadium and players will wear black armbands for tonight's match at Brighton.

    15:06: Parents warned over indecent snaps Burton Mail

    A warning has been issued to parents in South Derbyshire following reports that indecent images of youngsters could have been shared via mobile phones and social media.

    14:59: News on the hour Lisa Teanby BBC Radio Derby newsreader

    A book of condolence is being opened for former Derby County player and manager Dave Mackay, who's died at the age of 80.

    You can hear more on this in my 15:00 bulletin.

    Tweet @bbcderby 14:51: Your photos: Peak view Gavin Bevis BBC Local Live

    Thanks to Steve Fedun for this spectacular photo of Curbar Edge.

    Curbar Edge

    Email or tweet us your finest shots of Derbyshire and East Staffordshire. I'll feature the best on BBC Local Live.

    14:34: Ice alert

    The Met Office has issue a yellow warning of ice in Derbyshire, from 18:00 today to 10:00 on Wednesday.

    14:20: Mackay 'oozed class' via Facebook

    Vaughan Butler has joined others in paying tribute to former Derby County captain and manager Dave Mackay on Radio Derby's Facebook page.

    He wrote: "He oozed class and stabilized the whole team to go onto a whole new level...RIP Dave Mackay a true Derby legend."

    14:08: Video: Spotting slaves

    The University of Derby is opening an academy to help food firms learn how to spot workers who may have been human trafficking victims.

    Academy launch event

    The new approach was unveiled at a news conference yesterday. BBC News went along to find out more.

    13:55: News on the hour Lisa Teanby BBC Radio Derby newsreader

    In my 14:00 news bulletin, Derby County say they're considering how to create a lasting memorial to Dave Mackay at the iPro Stadium.

    13:44: Peregrine shot dead BBC Radio Derby

    It's been confirmed a peregrine falcon found dead near Derbyshire Wildlife Trust's offices in Belper in January died from a gunshot wound.

    X-ray of shot bird

    Tests carried out on the male bird found the shot lodged in its shoulder. The birds are protected and it's an offence to deliberately kill or injure them.

    13:33: Mackay 'the perfect midfield player'

    Former Scotland manager Craig Brown said: "Dave Mackay was the perfect midfield player and he would have been worth an absolute fortune today.

    "When you see players like Gareth Bale going to Real Madrid you wonder what Dave Mackay would've been worth in the present market."

    13:21: Barrier accident kills man Derbyshire Times

    A dad-to-be from Stanley Common who was killed when a barrier hit his car has been named by police.

    13:05: Robber strikes twice

    Police believe the same robber targeted two Derbyshire convenience stores in the same day.

    The man stole cash from the Premier Express store in Alfreton on Saturday morning after threatening staff with a knife.

    However, an attempt to duplicate the raid at the Stop and Shop store in South Normanton later that day saw the robber flee empty-handed after being challenged.

    12:54: News on the hour BBC Radio Derby

    In the 13:00 news bulletin: A book of condolence is to be opened for the former Derby County player and manager Dave Mackay, who died yesterday at the age of 80.

    Email 12:51: Your photos for Facebook Gavin Bevis BBC Local Live

    Keith Bown's lovely photo of sheep grazing in the Peak District is our new Facebook cover photo.

    Facebook cover photo

    Nominate one of your best pictures as a future cover image by emailing it to

    12:37: Mackay 'hated famous photo' The Daily Telegraph

    Dave Mackay, who has died aged 80, always claimed one of football's most famous images portrayed him as "a bully".

    12:23: Crash in Alvaston BBC Travel

    A two-car accident is partially blocking the A5111 Raynesway, near the Alvaston bypass junction.

    12:11: 'A wonderful footballer'

    Gary Lineker tweets: Sorry to hear that Dave Mackay has passed away. He was a wonderful footballer, and a winner, both North and South of the border. #RIPDave

    11:57: News on the hour Sally Swinfen Newsreader

    Derby County say they're considering how to create a lasting memorial to Dave Mackay at the iPro stadium.

    You can hear more on this in my 12:00 bulletin on BBC Radio Derby.

    11:39: '13,000 human trafficking victims' Sally Swinfen Newsreader, BBC Radio Derby

    The University of Derby is working with police to set up an academy that will teach managers at food and farming firms how to spot if workers are human trafficking victims.

    The Home Office believes there could be up to 13,000 victims of modern slavery across the country - people who have been deceived, forced, threatened or coerced into work, usually by criminal gangs.

    11:24: Brewer up for prize Owen Bradley BBC Radio Derby Sport

    Burton Albion defender Phil Edwards has been nominated for the League Two player of the month award for February.

    Phil Edwards

    Edwards scored once and added two assists as well as being a key part of Burton's defence. The winner is announced on Friday.

    11:09: Still a chance of wintry showers Sara Blizzard BBC Weather

    It's a nice bright day and although it's still quite cold, winds are easing. There is still the chance of a wintry shower or two this afternoon though.

    Temperature chart
    10:54: News on the hour Sally Swinfen Newsreader, BBC Radio Derby

    In my 11:00 bulletin, one of Dave Mackay's former team-mates tells us why the Scot was "a wonderful man".

    10:46: Team-mate tributes Derby Telegraph

    Following news of the sad death of Derby County legend Dave Mackay, chief football reporter Steve Nicholson has gathered together tributes from his former team-mates.

    10:30: 'Thank you for saving my life' BBC Radio Derby

    A 23-year-old Ilkeston woman who had a heart attack two months ago has thanked ambulance service staff for helping to save her life.

    The boyfriend of Joanna Mellors called 999 when he noticed she wasn't breathing properly.

    A phone operator then gave him instructions on how to administer CPR while they waited for paramedics to arrive.

    10:20: The Dave Mackay Stand?

    Steve, from Derby, texted us to say: "Dave Mackay WAS the Derby Ram - strong and brave.

    iPro Stadium

    "The club was built on his shoulders and he should have a stand named after him."

    10:07: Worker loses leg in accident

    A factory worker had to have part of his leg amputated after a metal frame fell on his foot while he was delivering it to a plant in Glossop

    Two firms have been fined following a Health and Safety Executive investigation into the accident, which happened in January 2012.

    09:57: News on the hour Sally Swinfen Newsreader, BBC Radio Derby

    In my 10:00 bulletin, former Rams defender Roy McFarland pays tribute to Dave Mackay following his death.

    09:52: Mackay a true great: Rush

    Derby County chief executive Sam Rush said Dave Mackay would be remembered as a Rams legend.

    He said: "His name will forever be etched into the history of the club for the fantastic contribution that he made, both as a player and a manager.

    "Fans still talk of his influence to this day and he will be forever remembered as a true great of our football club."

    09:41: Trader quits after rent rise

    The owner of a business that's been part of the Markeaton Park Craft Village for 25 years claims he's being forced out by a huge rent increase and changes to his opening hours.

    Markeaton Park

    Tony Maggs, who runs bee-keeping equipment shop The Honeypot, said he wasn't the only trader unhappy at the changes.

    09:23: Have your say Gavin Bevis BBC Local Live

    We've introduced BBC Local Live to bring you news, sport, travel and weather updates in one place. We'd like to find out what you think of the service.

    09:12: Mackay was Clough's 'greatest signing' Pat Murphy BBC Radio 5 live

    RIP Dave Mackay. If you're of a certain age, he's in midfield in your Great Post-War British XI - a mixture of Duncan Edwards and Bryan Robson.

    Dave Mackay

    Brian Clough reckoned Mackay was his greatest signing. He joined the Rams for £15,000 in 1968 and Clough converted him into a great sweeper.

    08:56: News on the hour Sally Swinfen Newsreader, BBC Radio Derby

    Tributes are being paid to Dave Mackay, the former Derby County player and manager who's died at the age of 80.

    You can hear more on this in my 09:00 bulletin.

    08:43: Mackay statue suggestion

    Former Derby County winger Alan Hinton has called for a statue to be built in honour of Dave Mackay's contribution to the club, both as a player and manager.

    The Rams already have a statue of title-winning management duo Brian Clough and Peter Taylor outside the iPro Stadium.

    08:31: Slavery academy to open BBC Radio Derby

    Work has begun to set up a national academy in Derby to tackle modern slavery.

    The University of Derby initiative will train workers and managers in industries such as food and farming to spot signs of human trafficking.

    08:19: Dave Mackay dies BBC Sport

    Tributes are being paid to former Derby County captain and manager Dave Mackay following his death at the age of 80.

    Dave Mackay

    The Scottish midfielder skippered the Rams to promotion from the Second Division in 1969 before returning as manager to help the Rams win their second league title in 1975.

    08:07: Bright and breezy day Sara Blizzard BBC Weather

    After a frosty start with some icy patches, a bright and breezy day should ensue, with isolated snow showers becoming increasingly confined to the Peak District.

    Sara Blizzard

    It should become cloudier and breezier towards dusk with highs of 6C (43F).

    08:00: Good morning Gavin Bevis BBC Local Live

    Hi everyone. I'll be serving up all of today's news, sport, travel and weather for Derbyshire and East Staffordshire.

    I'd really like to hear from you too, so email or tweet us @bbcderby with your photos and comments.



  • Mukesh SinghNo remorse

    Delhi bus rapist says victim shouldn't have fought back

  • Aimen DeanI spied

    The founder member of al-Qaeda who worked for MI6

  • Before and after shotsPerfect body

    Just how reliable are 'before and after' photos?

  • Woman with closed eyeStrange light show

    What do you see when you close your eyes?

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.