UK & World News

  • 22 February 2013, 21:00

Philpott Fire: Father Showed 'Little Emotion'

Mick Philpott showed "little emotion" as he waited in hospital for news of the condition of one of his children following a fire at their home in Derby, a court has heard.

Jade, 10, and brothers John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six and Jayden, five, all perished in the blaze on Victory Road in Allenton in May last year.

Their brother Duwayne, 13, was taken to Derby Royal Hospital but died three days later after being transferred to Birmingham.

Philpott, 56, and his wife Mairead, 31, deny killing their six children after a "plan" to frame his ex-mistress went wrong. A third defendant, Paul Mosley, 46, also denies six counts of manslaughter.

PC Kevin Cassidy from Derbyshire Police told Nottingham Crown Court that he was appointed the family's interim liaison officer at the hospital.

He said Mick Philpott told him he and Mairead had been asleep downstairs at the time of the fire and they were woken by a smoke alarm.

When Mick Philpott went outside he claimed he climbed a ladder and used a monkey wrench to smash a window, but the "thick, black smoke" beat him back.

He described the father as "clear and concise in what he was saying and he showed little emotion ... his body language was very relaxed ... as if nothing had happened".

The officer said he only showed emotion when relatives arrived, then he was "casual" again. Mairead Philpott, he said, was "very emotional ... nine times out of 10 she had her head in her hands".

The officer said doctors in Derby told the Philpotts that Duwayne would receive "better treatment" at Birmingham Children's Hospital, but that Mick Philpott was "reluctant" to go there.

He told how the father said: "We are not going to Birmingham, I have a court day today with regards to access to my other children." He was, he said, "adamant he wasn't going to go, he had no intention of going".

The prosecution alleges that the defendant was violent towards his ex-girlfriend Lisa Willis and after she left the Victory Road home she shared with the Philpotts, taking her five children with her, he wanted to get the children back.

The officer told the jury that after discussions with a doctor at the Derby Royal Hospital, the defendants went for a coffee for 20 to 30 minutes. The doctor asked where they were because Duwayne needed to be transferred "immediately".

When Mick Philpott arrived back from the cafe, he was bare-chested and said he had spilled coffee down his T-shirt. The officer said he went to find him a hospital gown. The Philpotts were later taken in an unmarked police car to Birmingham.

Earlier PC Joanne Steele told the court that at the scene of the fire Mairead Philpott was "hysterical" and was "shaking, uncontrollable, very, very stressed".

PC Steele said Mick Philpott "seemed upset, but seemed to be pacing, anxious".

She said he told her that his ex, Lisa, had made "threats to kill them ... or set the house on fire".

Neighbour Joseph Peel told the court that he was woken by his dog, and when he looked outside it was "foggy" and "as I scanned I just noticed the door on fire". He said he then saw there was "black, thick smoke" coming out of a side window.

He dialled 999, put his clothes on and went outside. He said he banged on the caravan outside 18 Victory Road and shouted: "Mick, Mick, your house is on fire, we knew Mick used to sleep in there.

"I heard what I believe to be Mr Philpott in the back garden ... he was shouting 'my kids, get my kids out'."

Another neighbour, Daniel Stevenson, fought back tears as he told the court he made a number of attempts to save the children after he heard Mick Philpott shout "my babies" and his wife screaming.

He used a pickaxe and a wrench to try to get in, and only got off the conservatory roof when police assured him firefighters were already inside the property. When he got down, he said he saw Mick Philpott punch his van.

"I think he tried to get in the house," he said. "He was being restrained by police officers."

The trial continues.

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