Witness denies role in fatal blaze
The brother-in-law of a woman whose ex-partner is accused of killing six of his children has been forced to deny in court setting fire to the house in which they died.
Ian Cousins, who is married to Lisa Willis's sister Amanda, told Nottingham Crown Court he did not know who started the fire at Victory Road in Derby.
It is alleged that Mick Philpott and his wife Mairead, along with a third defendant Paul Mosley, started the fatal blaze in order to frame Miss Willis as the culprit after she left her relationship with Philpott.
During Mr Cousins' evidence to the court, Anthony Orchard QC, defending Mick Philpott, asked him: "Are you or were you connected to the setting of this fire?"
Mr Cousins answered: "Not at all."
Mr Orchard asked: "Did you have any direct knowledge of who set the fire?"
"No," he replied.
Six siblings - Jade, 10, John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, Jayden, five, and Duwayne, 13 - all died after the fire which engulfed their home in Allenton in the early hours of May 11 last year. Philpott, 56, his 31-year-old wife and Mosley, 46, have all denied six counts of manslaughter in relation to the deaths.
Jurors heard from Mr Cousins about events before the fire in February last year when Miss Willis went to stay with him and his wife, from whom he is now separated, after she had left Philpott.
There was no love lost between Mr Cousins and Philpott, he said, and both he and his wife were relieved Miss Willis had finally decided to leave the relationship after 10 years.