Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Father 'paranoid' over custody case

Mick Philpott and his wife Mairead are accused of killing their six children in a house fire in Derby last year
Mick Philpott and his wife Mairead are accused of killing their six children in a house fire in Derby last year

A father accused of killing his six children in a house fire had become "paranoid" about losing them in an upcoming custody battle, a court has heard.

Mick Philpott was worried he would not be able to see his children after a legal hearing that was scheduled on the same day his children tragically died in the fatal blaze.

Philpott, 56, was locked in a vitriolic custody battle with his former mistress Lisa Willis, 29, after she left the home she shared with him and his wife three months earlier, taking her five children with her.

He was father to four of Miss Willis's children and had another six with his 31-year-old wife, Mairead. The family all lived together in the same home in Allenton, Derby.

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

Giving evidence to Nottingham Crown Court, neighbour Adam Taylor, who was a close friend of Philpott, said Philpott was not confident about the outcome of the court hearing. "He was more paranoid at not winning," he said.

Prosecutor Richard Latham QC asked him: "If he did not win, what did he think would happen?"

"That he would not get to see them," Mr Taylor said. "He was adamant that he did not want access, like weekends, he wanted full custody."

Mr Taylor said the comments were made to him as the pair drove in Philpott's van to an address nearby to buy some cannabis for Mosley on the evening of May 10. Mosley and Philpott had been playing snooker together at the Philpotts' home when he asked for Taylor to pick the drug up for him.

It is alleged by prosecutors that the fire was the result of a botched plan by the defendants to frame Miss Willis after she left her relationship with Philpott. The six youngsters - Jayden, five, Jessie, six, Jack, eight, John, nine, Jade, 10, and Duwayne, 13 - all died in the fire on May 11 last year.

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