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'He wanted a house full of kids and the benefit cash that brings': Prosecutors verdict as father of 16 goes on trial over blaze that killed six of them
Mick and Mairead Philpott allegedly started fire at semi-detached Derby homeThe couple and a third defendant deny six separate counts of manslaughterPhilpott, his wife and ex, Lisa Willis, all lived in same house with 11 childrenSix of the children were Mick and Mairead Philpott's, four were his children by Lisa Willis and another was Miss Willis's child with another manPhilpott jumped up in court as tape of 999 call was played to the jury
Police recorded conversations between Philpott and his wife following fireCourt heard Mairead Philpott carried out sex act on third defendant Paul Mosley following the fire
/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
The room had been bugged by police and
Philpott watched as his wife performed a sex act on Mosley. Afterwards
he praised his wife after acknowledging that she did not want to perform
Mr Latham told the jury they ‘may conclude’ the sexual favour was carried out to keep Mosley ‘onside’.
The court heard Philpott controlled
all aspects of the family finances, with all benefit money paid towards
the children’s upkeep along with the two women’s meagre part-time income
paid straight into his account – the same arrangement he had instigated
with both his first wife and another woman he then left her for.
Mr Latham said it was only after Miss
Willis left and was rehoused by the local authority that she discovered
she had been entitled to more than 1,000 a month in benefits to help
look after the children.
As a harrowing 999 call made by the
Philpotts from the garden of their Derby home was played to the court,
Philpott shouted ‘I can’t listen to it’ and attempted to leave the dock,
but was subdued by security staff.
Mick and Mairead Philpott, pictured with five of the six children who died in the house fire. The other identities have been obscured for legal reasons
Towards the end of the call, his wife,
who dabbed tears from her eyes in the dock, could be heard wailing
uncontrollably in the background of the call.
The court heard that after tiring of Philpott’s ‘domineering’ behaviour, Miss Willis decided to leave him.
Exactly three months before the blaze,
she walked out without warning, taking the children first to her
sister’s home, then into a women’s refuge before she was eventually
rehoused by the local authority.
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
The couple became involved in a
bitter row over the residency of the children, with Philpott telling
friends Miss Willis had made threats against his home and children,
something he would ‘use in court to get his children back’.
Mr Latham said Philpott was deeply troubled
by her leaving, to the point that he had become depressed and even tried
to take his own life.
steadily became 'obsessed with getting Lisa and the kids back' and part
of his distress was because of the simple fact that Miss Willis had left
'He is very controlling
and very manipulative, he will do anything to get his own way. He
simply will not tolerate dissent,' jurors heard.
Miss Willis returned to the house with a friend on February 14 to collect
clothes for her and the children, she was challenged by Philpott.
'There was an incident on the doorstep, Philpott manifesting huge aggression and the police were called,' Mr Latham said.
Less than a fortnight before the
blaze, he told police Miss Willis, a cleaner, had made a telephone
threat to kill him and demanded that she be arrested.
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
'This was all nonsense. This was all a way of setting what had become a plan,' Mr Latham added.
became apparent to him that Lisa was going to do what she wanted and
not what he required or demanded. He began to set her up.'
A few days earlier, Philpott had vowed to ‘slam her where it hurts’, the court heard.
About a fortnight before the fire
Philpott told friends he had an idea for a way of getting Lisa and the
children back, Mr Latham said.
'He told people he had a plan up his sleeve and that she wasn't going to get away with it – watch this space.'
Mr Latham said: ‘She (Miss Willis) had
stood up to him. He was no longer in control and that was absolutely
unacceptable to him.’ He added that Philpott ‘simply will not tolerate
Arrival: A prison van believed to be containing the defendants arrives at Nottingham Crown Court today
The court heard Philpott (second from left) planned to frame his ex-girlfriend and eventually win his children back
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, Mick 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, 56, 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.'
Mr Latham told the Nottingham Crown
Court jury that while he did not suggest the defendants intended to kill
the children, any ‘reasonable and sober person’ would deduce that
setting a fire in a hallway with six children asleep upstairs ‘creates
an obvious risk’.
It was the Crown case that the defendants were ‘criminally responsible for the deaths as a result of setting the fire’.
Mr Latham said the defendants
‘produced a fire that got totally out of control because of far too much
petrol, combined with a chimney effect’.
‘The consequence of the dense smoke
just hadn’t been anticipated.’ The same brand of petrol discovered on
the clothing of all three defendants was also found in the U-bend of the
sink inside the house, and also inside the front door.
While his wife was seen to be distraught, Philpott was overheard at the hospital saying: ‘It wasn’t meant to end like this.
During a fortnight of surveillance at
the hotel in May, the couple were heard whispering about the case, and
Philpott was recorded telling his wife to ‘stick to your story’.
The couple were charged by police on May 30 in connection with the deaths.
The court heard that in the weeks following the fire, Mosley told a friend the plan had been for him to rescue the children.
Mosley said it was because the Philpotts wanted a bigger house.
The court heard how neighbours tried to rescue the children from the burning house but were beaten back by the smoke and flames.
When the bodies of the children were
carried out of the house by police, Philpott ran forward and had to be
restrained, Mr Latham said.
'It must have been quite clear the plan had gone horribly wrong.'
Philpott was heard telling people Miss Willis threatened to kill them or to set fire to the house.
'She was being set up as the culprit,' Mr Latham said.
Fatal: Prosecutor Mr Latham told the jury the fire was started in the early hours of the morning on the day Miss Willis and Philpott were due in court to discuss the residency of the children
Philpott told neighbours the children were in the back bedroom of the house.
'Is this where they were expected to be as part of the plan to rescue them,' Mr Latham said.
Philpott told police he was playing
snooker with Mosley before the fire broke out. He said Mosley left
before 2am and Michael and Mairead fell asleep watching a film, but they
were woken by a smoke alarm and he discovered a large fire in the hall.
He called 999 and handed the phone to
his wife before climbing a ladder in the back garden and smashing a hole
in the back window. He said the black smoke beat him back.
Police reported his behaviour following the fire as 'unusual', the court heard.
One constable said Philpott showed 'no emotion' and acted as if at a social event.
At the hospital, onlookers described him as looking 'spotlessly clean' for someone who had been in a house fire, Mr Latham said.
The Philpotts and Mosley, a fork-lift truck driver and also from Derby, each deny six counts of manslaughter.
The trial continues.
Floral tributes adorn the pavement outside the house following the fire