Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Accused father sobs at 999 call

Mick Philpott, pictured with wife Mairead, said he was not involved in the fire which killed his children but had suspicions about who started the blaze
Artist's drawing of Mick Philpott in the witness box at Nottingham Crown Court (PA)

A man accused of killing his six children in a house fire has collapsed and sobbed in the witness box as a court heard a 999 call made by him and his wife as the blaze took hold.

Sitting in the court as he gave evidence, Mick Philpott, 56, doubled over and wept loudly as Nottingham Crown Court heard the desperate call made to emergency services as the children were trapped inside the house.

Sitting in the court dock his wife Mairead, 31, began to cry as the call started to play to jurors.

Six siblings died in the fire. Jade, 10, and brothers John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six and Jayden, five, died during the blaze. Their brother Duwayne, 13, was taken to Derby Royal Hospital and transferred to Birmingham Children's Hospital but died three days later.

Philpott, his wife, and a third defendant Paul Mosley, 46, have all denied six separate counts of manslaughter in relation to each of the deaths.

Shortly before the 999 call was played to their trial, Philpott fought to maintain his composure as he described trying to get to his children in the upstairs bedrooms as the fire began to engulf the house in Victory Road, Derby, in the early hours of May 11 last year.

Anthony Orchard QC, defending Philpott, asked him: "What was your first thought when you realised there was a fire?" Philpott replied: "My kids."

He said he picked up a phone nearby and rang 999 and put on his boxer shorts and Derby County tracksuit bottoms before heading outside. He used a ladder at the back of the house to climb up to the bedroom window where the children were sleeping but was unable to smash the glass, so returned into the house where he found a children's tennis racket.

Prosecutors allege the three defendants started the fire in a botched plan to frame Philpott's ex-girlfriend Lisa Willis.

Miss Willis, 29, left the home she shared with him and his wife three months before the fire and took her five children with her, four of which were fathered by Philpott.

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