Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Devastation of fire tragedy brother

Richard Philpott, left, carries his sister Jade's coffin alongside his brother Mickey

The brother of six siblings who died in a house fire has spoken for the first time of his devastation, and how his family has coped since the tragedy.

Richard Philpott, 24, said an outpouring of support from the local community has helped with his grief since the deaths of sister Jade, 10, and brothers John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, Jayden, five, and 13-year-old Duwayne.

The children all died after a fire swept through their home in Victory Road, Derby, in the early hours of May 11 as they slept.

Duwayne was pulled from the house by firefighters in the aftermath of the blaze and taken to hospital but could not be saved.

Their parents, Mick Philpott, 55, and his 31-year-old wife Mairead, have been charged with all six murders.

Richard Philpott refused to comment on the legal action against his father and step-mother, but said the money raised by the local community had helped him cope and allowed the family to give the children the funerals they deserved.

A service for the children took place at St Mary's Catholic Church, in St Alkmund's Way in Derby last month. Their personalised coffins were taken to the packed church in horse-drawn carriages.

He thanked all the people who had helped raised £15,000 to cover the cost of the funerals and told the Derby Telegraph: "This was their last send-off, all the birthdays and Christmases they would never have again, all in one."

Mr Philpott said he first heard about the fire when his father rang him as he was on his way to work on the morning of May 11. He made his way straight to hospital to be at Duwayne's bedside as he fought for his life, and said that with so much hurt and loss the family prayed his life would be spared.

Mr Philpott has since had the faces of his six brothers and sisters tattooed on his arm with a message that reads: "My brothers, my sisters and my best friends. Love you always, forget you never", according to the Derby Telegraph.

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