UK & World News

  • 14 February 2013, 7:31

Mick Philpott's Lover: 'Wife And I Took Turns'

A woman allegedly being framed for a fire that killed six children has told a court she was nowhere near the house on the night of the tragedy.

Mick Philpott and his wife Mairead are accused of starting the fire at their semi-detached home after telling police his former live-in partner, Lisa Willis, had been threatening him and his family.

Prosecutors allege the couple hatched a plot to discredit Miss Willis - who had left the home with her five children, four of whom were fathered by Philpott - and regain custody of the youngsters, but it "went horribly wrong".

The three had an unconventional relationship which was revealed to the court.

Miss Willis, 29, said she and Mick Philpott's wife, 31, would alternate the nights they would sleep with him at the home they all shared.

She told Nottingham Crown Court: "We took it in turns, we never had all three of us together.

"One night it would be me, one night it would be Mairead."

Miss Willis said the children slept upstairs and this arrangement continued until they bought a caravan which stood on the driveway of the house.

The woman who would be sleeping with Philpott on any given night went to the caravan with him, while the other woman slept inside with the children.

Mick Philpott, 56, denies six counts of manslaughter in relation to the deaths of the six children. His wife and a third defendant, 46-year-old Paul Mosley, also deny the same six charges.

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 which engulfed their home in Victory Road, Allenton, Derby, as they slept in their beds in the early hours of May 11 last year.

Prosecutor Richard Latham QC alleges that the Philpotts and Mosley started the fire in a botched plan to set Miss Willis up as the culprit after she and her children left the relationship.

Miss Willis, who gave evidence from behind a screen, said she had met Philpott when she was 17, and that he was a friend of her sister.

She already had a young son with another man and was living in a two-bed council house at the time but was hoping to move to larger accommodation, which she was struggling to get.

She told the court that after getting better acquainted with Philpott he suggested that she move in with him and Mairead, who were not married at the time.

The couple had a son and a daughter and Miss Willis said that she was chosen as a bridesmaid at their wedding.

The court heard her relationship with Philpott became sexual "weeks" after she moved in to the Victory Road council house, and it was something that did not bother Philpott's wife.

"Mick said he asked Mairead about it, if she was okay about it, and apparently she turned round and said she was fine," Miss Willis said.

"He asked her in front of me as well and said, 'I've asked you about Lisa moving in' and she said, 'Yeah, I'm fine about it'."

Mr Latham put it to her: "There's a difference between you moving in and having a sexual relationship."

But Miss Willis replied: "She was fine."

She said she had never threatened the Philpotts.

Regarding the night of the tragedy, she told the court her sister and children were at her house until 8pm on May 10.

"Did you go anywhere near number 18 Victory Road that night?" Mr Latham asked.

"No, I never", she replied.

"Did you have any discussion with your sister about going to number 18 that night?" he continued.

"No, we didn't," Miss Willis replied.

She also told the court that in an incident early on in their relationship Philpott repeatedly hit her on the legs, back and arms with a piece of wood.

The argument started when he questioned her about who was the father of her child, she said.

"He just kept saying, 'No, it's not true'," she told the court.

She added she was "shocked and disappointed" afterwards and that "if we had a fallout he would bring it up again".

The trial continues.

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