UK & World News

  • 21 February 2013, 19:05

Philpott House Fire: 'Casualties Everywhere'

A firefighter at the trial of three people accused of killing six children in a house blaze has described the moment he found "casualties everywhere".

Michael Patterson was part of a crew who fought through flames looking for youngsters trapped inside the property in Derby in May last year.

The children's parents - 56-year-old Mick Philpott and his wife Mairead, 31 - and a third defendant, Paul Mosley, 46, each deny six counts of manslaughter in relation to the deaths.

Mr Patterson told Nottingham Crown Court the fire had created such thick black smoke he had to try to locate the youngsters by touch and not sight.

He described the scene as "confusing" and "chaotic", and said there was a "great sense of urgency".

At one stage, Mr Patterson, who went into the building four times, told his colleagues: "There are casualties everywhere."

Earlier, evidence from one of the police officers at the scene told of the chaos outside the property.

As a neighbour stood on the roof of a conservatory trying to get into the property using a pick axe, the children's father was shirtless and agitated.

As the children were brought out and the emergency services tried to resuscitate them, Mr Philpott was restrained by officers, shouting: "I need to get to them, they're my babies."

He then dropped to his knees in tears.

Before being persuaded by paramedics to go to hospital with his wife, Mr Philpott spoke to police and made allegations against "two females and a male".

As he was leaving, he shouted: "The police should have sorted this out 19 weeks ago".

In the weeks before the fire, he told friends and police that his former mistress Lisa Willis had threatened to set fire to his house.

One of the team of doctors who dealt with the children as they arrived at hospital in Derby said they were covered in soot but showed no signs of distress.

He said the parents showed no evidence of having been in a fire.

Six siblings - Jade, 10, John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, Jayden, five, and Duwayne, 13 - all died in the blaze in the Allenton area.

The prosecution alleges that the Philpotts and Mosley started the fire in a failed plan to set Ms Willis up as the culprit, after she and her children left the relationship.

The trial continues.

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