Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Couple guilty over blaze children

Mick and Mairead Philpott, the parents of six children who died in a house fire, have been convicted of their manslaughter

Relatives of six children who died in a house fire have said their "angels can rest in peace" after their parents were convicted of their killing.

Mick and Mairead Philpott were found guilty by jurors amid emotional scenes at Nottingham Crown Court of the manslaughter of the six siblings in the blaze at the family home in Victory Road, Derby, on May 11 last year.

A third defendant, 46-year-old Paul Mosley, was also found guilty of manslaughter following an eight-week trial.

Mick Philpott, 56, his 32-year-old wife, and Mosley, started the fire in the house in the early hours in a bid to frame Lisa Willis, the former girlfriend of Philpott, prosecutors said.

Ten-year-old Jade Philpott and her brothers John, nine; Jack, eight; Jesse, six; Jayden, five; and 13-year-old Duwayne all died as a result of the petrol-fuelled blaze that tore through their three-bed council house.

There were emotional scenes in the packed public gallery at court as jurors delivered guilty verdicts in respect of all three defendants. Many people sobbed and hugged one another while Mrs Philpott's sister, Bernadette Duffy, shouted out: "You murdering b*******. You heard me. I told you didn't I? No f***** listened to me from day one."

Speaking after the convictions, the families of both the Philpotts welcomed the verdicts. Dawn Bestwick, Philpott's sister, said in a statement that they believed justice had been served. Describing the past year as a "very difficult time", she added: "We can now attempt to move on and our six angels can rest in peace."

A statement from Mrs Philpott's family said: "We, Mairead's family cannot describe the pain we feel. Today, justice has been served and we are happy with the verdict."

During the trial the court heard details of how Philpott - who showed little emotion as he was convicted of the children's killing - led an unconventional life at Victory Road. Philpott would share a bed with his wife and Miss Willis on alternate nights. But Miss Willis, 29, became unhappy with the domestic set-up three months before the fire and left with her five children, four of whom were fathered by Philpott, from the home she had shared with the Philpotts and their six children.

The fatal blaze engulfed the house at around 3.45am on May 11, just hours before Philpott and Miss Willis were due to appear at a pre-scheduled court hearing to discuss residency of their children. The court hearing was postponed in the aftermath of the fire.

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