UK & World News
Philpott Fire Trial: Wife Treated Like 'Slave'
A man who is alleged to have killed his six children in a house fire has been accused in court of treating his wife like a slave.
Michael Philpott, 56, was accused at Nottingham Crown Court on Thursday of controlling his wife Mairead, 31, and treating her like a "skivvy".
The pair, and a third defendant Paul Mosley, are on trial for the manslaughter of their six children in a house fire at their home in Allenton on May 11 last year. All three deny the charges.
On the second day of giving evidence in his own defence, Philpott was cross-examined by his wife's barrister Shaun Smith QC.
Mr Smith suggested Philpott had started or arranged the fire while his wife was asleep, while Philpott, crying, answered "no I didn't, I love my kids, I'd never endanger them".
Philpott admitted he had "been terrible to Mairead, I don't deny that".
Mr Smith asked Philpott: "You regarded her as your property, didn't you? Your slave. That's what she was, wasn't she?
"She did everything in that house, didn't she, even when you were having a relationship with another woman? You think you own her, don't you?"
Philpott shook his head and said "no".
The court heard there was "a pattern" to the women Philpott was attracted to.
He began a relationship with Mairead when she was 19 and he was 43, and with Lisa Willis when she was 18 and he was also 43.
Philpott told the jury his wife and his mistress Miss Willis had a sexual relationship, saying they were "lovers" and that all three of them enjoyed it when the women slept with other men, they found it a "turn on".
Miss Willis, 29, lived with the Philpotts and her five children - four of them fathered by Michael Philpott - until she left with the youngsters in February last year.
He admitted that Mairead had been present when he and Lisa first kissed but rejected claims she was "hurt" when he brought another woman into their relationship.
He said: "Can you help who you fall in love with? I didn't actually want two women in my life. It just happened and I regret it.
"It might sound strange to you but I asked Mairead's permission. And I got it. We was one happy family."
Philpott also told the court petrol residue found inside the house came from filling a garden strimmer.
Later in the day in court, Philpott denied his wife was no longer "sticking to their story" about the circumstances surrounding the fire.
Philpott was accused by the Richard Latham QC for the prosecution of being self-obsessed and someone who if they did not get their way would "if all else fails throw a sicky, flop to the ground, and when you cry there are no tears it's all an act?"
Philpott replied: "I'd like you to stand here Mr Latham, let's see how you do it." Later Mr Latham again asked: "You were in this together weren't you?"
Philpott replied: "No, I swear on my children's graves ... " Mr Latham interrupted: "Don't descend to that, don't demean yourself."
After Philpott and his wife were charged by the police they were recorded having a hushed conversation in a prison van, Philpott said "are we sticking to the story?", the jury has heard.
In court, Philpott insisted that was a reference to them engaging in dogging, which they were too embarrassed to tell the police.
He also admitted that he had not had a bath or shower for three months prior to the fire, he said his kids used to call him a "tramp" as he rarely changed clothes.
Jade, 10, and brothers John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six and Jayden, five, all died in the fire on Victory Road, Allenton, last year.
Their brother Duwayne, 13, was taken to Derby Royal Hospital but died three days later.
The trial continues.
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