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'She won't get away with it – watch this space': Father 'started house blaze which killed his six children in bid to frame ex-girlfriend during custody battle'Mick and Mairead Philpott allegedly started fire in May last yearThe couple, and third defendant, deny six separate counts of manslaughterTrial started at Nottingham Crown Court today
/11/06/article-2228528-15E03182000005DC-28_634x442.jpg” width=”634″ height=”442″ alt=”The children, five boys and a girl, aged between five and 13, died in the fire at their house in Derby, pictured. Flowers were left at the scene” class=”blkBorder” />
The children, five boys and a girl, aged between five and 13, died in the fire at their house in Derby, pictured. Flowers were left at the scene
Philpott stood and tried to leave the dock saying 'I can't listen to it' before being made to sit down by security officers.
He spent the remaining minutes sobbing, with his head bowed and hands over his ears as the call played out.
The court was told the family shared an unconventional lifestyle – Philpott, 56, his 31-year-old wife and Ms Willis, 28, all lived in the same house.
A total of 11 children also lived there – six were those of Mick and Mairead Philpott, while four were his children with Ms Willis. Another child was Ms Willis's with another man.
Mick and Mairead Philpott's children – Jade, 10, and her brothers John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, Jayden, five, and Duwayne, 13 – all perished after the fire at their home in Victory Road, Allenton, Derby, in the early hours of May 11 last year.
Denial: The couple (pictured here with five of the children), along with a third defendant, 46-year-old Paul Mosley, have all denied six separate counts of manslaughter in relation to the deaths
The couple, along with a third defendant, 46-year-old Paul Mosley, have all denied six separate counts of manslaughter in relation to the deaths.
At the start of their trial at Nottingham Crown Court today, prosecutor Richard Latham QC told the jury the fire was started in the early hours of the morning on the day Ms Willis and Philpott were due in court to discuss the residency of the children.
She had left Philpott and the Victory Road property in February last year, taking her children with her, and had become embroiled in a bitter battle with Philpott.
He planned to frame her and eventually win his children back, and had made numerous reports to the police that she had threatened him, his wife and the children, the jury heard.
The family shared an unconventional lifestyle – Philpott (right), 56, his 31-year-old wife Mairead (left), and his mistress Lisa Willis, 28, all lived in the same house together
Mr Latham told the jury of six men and six women: '/11/06/article-2228528-13BC2AD2000005DC-638_196x326.jpg” width=”196″ height=”326″ alt=”Jade Philpott, 10″ class=”blkBorder” />
Jade Philpott, 10
Jayden Philpott, 5
John Philpott, 9
Jack Philpott, 8
Jesse Philpott, 6
Duwayne Philpott, 13
He said the jurors had to decide if the fire was an inside job or was started by someone else.
Plans of Victory Road and the house where the Philpotts lived were shown to the jury.
heard that the three-bedroom semi-detached home, owned by Derby Homes,
had a games room with a full-length snooker table and a conservatory.
A caravan and a minibus were parked in the driveway, blocking access down the side of the house at the time of the fire.
Latham said that while Ms Willis and her children were living at the
three-bed house, most of the children normally slept upstairs while Mrs
Philpott slept in either the living room or the conservatory.
Mick Philpott slept in a caravan outside with Ms Willis.
Arrival: A prison van believed to be containing the defendants arrives at Nottingham Crown Court today
The adults had a sexual relationship but Philpott had often said he was unhappy with his wife, jurors heard.
'He often expressed the view he
preferred his relationship with Lisa Willis to that he had with his wife
Mairead,' Mr Latham said.
had spoken of divorcing Mairead – not separating from her but divorcing
her – in order that he could make Lisa Willis his wife.
'He wanted to change their status but he wanted them both to still live in the house.'
Willis had become unhappy with the relationship, Mr Latham said, but
had not expressed her feelings to Philpott because she was worried about
The funeral of the six at St Mary's Catholic Church in Derby
'Unbeknown to Michael Philpott, Lisa Willis got to the point where she found the whole domestic set-up unacceptable.
knew that to simply announce to Michael Philpott that she found the
relationship set-up unacceptable would provoke a singularly unpleasant
'He was the one who made the decisions, the women did not.'
On Saturday February 11, Ms Willis told him she was taking her children swimming and did not return home, the jury heard.
'We say that this event was the catalyst for everything that was to follow,' Mr Latham said.
The court heard Philpott (second from left) planned to frame his ex-girlfriend and eventually win his children back
He said Philpott was deeply troubled by the fact Ms Willis had left him and taken his children.
'He wanted the children back with or without her. He just wanted the children.'
Court proceedings began in due course and on the morning of the fire, which happened in the early hours, Ms Willis and Philpott had been due in court to discuss residency of the children.
FATHER'S TEARS AT 999 BLAZE CALL
Mick Philpott, accused with his wife of killing their six children in a house fire, made a desperate attempt to avoid hearing in court a 999 call made on the night of the fatal blaze.
Nottingham Crown Court was played the recording in which Mairead Philpott can be heard trying to explain to a 999 operator that her children were trapped inside the burning building.
As the call recording began to be played to jurors, Philpott, who had been sitting quietly in the court, shouted 'I can't listen to it' and stood up, seemingly trying to get out of the secure dock.
He was seated again by two male security officers who flanked him and spent the remainder of the call playback leaning forward with his head close to his knees and his hands clamped over his ears.
Philpott, dressed in a black suit and checked shirt, could be seen sobbing and grimacing as details of the chaotic scene unfolded on the recording.
The call was made from his mobile phone at 3.46am as the fire took hold of the three-bed house in Victory Road, Derby.
Mairead Philpott, 31, told the call handler: 'My house is on fire and my kids are inside.'
She is heard frantically trying to tell the operator what had happened and screaming at the scene before her.
Her husband later takes the phone to talk to the call handler and, though difficult to understand through his sobs, is heard saying: 'I can't get in.'
Trial judge Mrs Justice Kate Thirlwall told Philpott's barrister, Anthony Orchard QC, that he did not need to remain in court if he was too distressed.
Mr Orchard told the judge it was the first time his client had heard the recording, which had resulted in him being so distressed.
The court heard that Ms Willis met Philpott when she was 17 or 18 and he was about 45.
She already had son Jordan and they moved into the Victory Road house a short time after meeting Philpott.
'Her sexual relationship with Michael Philpott started after she had been living there about three weeks,' Mr Latham said.
'Almost from the outset he sought to exert total control over her.'
Her wages from a cleaning job were paid into his bank account, as were her benefits.
When she decided she could no longer remain in the relationship she went to stay with her sister, Amanda, before staying in a women's refuge.
She returned to the home with a friend on February 14 to collect clothes for her and the children and was challenged by Philpott.
'There was an incident on the doorstep, Philpott manifesting huge aggression and the police were called,' Mr Latham said.
'What she had done challenged the very core of his attitude to his family and his women.
'She had stood up to him, he was no longer in control and that was absolutely unacceptable to him.'
Philpott told friends Ms Willis was not going to get full custody of the children.
On May 1, he reported to the police that Ms Willis made threats to kill him, the court heard.
About a fortnight before the fire he told friends he had 'a plan up his sleeve', Mr Latham said.
Mr Latham said Philpott began to set Ms Willis up when she did 'as she wanted rather than what he required'.
The court heard that in the weeks before the fire Philpott received a call from his wife while taking friends to a darts game in his minibus.
Philpott told his friends, 'Sorry guys someone is threatening to torch the house with the kids in it', Mr Latham told the court.
'This was all nonsense. This was all a way of setting what had become a plan,' Mr Latham added.
He told court Ms Willis denies threatening to torch the house.