Philpott house demolition begins
The grandmother of six children who died in a house fire set by their parents has said the youngsters will be able to rest in peace now that their former home is being demolished.
Standing across from the fire-ravaged semi-detached property in Victory Road, Derby, Vera Duffy, Mairead Philpott's mother, said she had wanted to see the start of the demolition process to end the tragic chapter in the family's history.
An emotional Mrs Duffy, 55, said: "I'm here just to see it. The children will be resting in peace now."
Mick and Mairead Philpott were jailed in April, along with friend Paul Mosley, after being convicted of killing the couple's six children in the petrol-fuelled blaze in Allenton.
Jade Philpott, 10, and her brothers John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, and Jayden, five, died in the blaze in May 2012. Duwayne, 13, died days later in hospital.
The demolition work will see 18 Victory Road, the scene of the tragedy, and neighbouring property number 20 razed to the ground.
Mrs Duffy stood staring at the boarded up three-bed house, which still had a handful of withered floral tributes pinned to the front door that had been left in the wake of the children's deaths, and fighting back tears, said: "I'm just devastated."
She said had not been to visit her daughter in prison since she was found guilty of manslaughter, and said she would watch every stage of the demolition of the house.
"I'll be here every day," she said. "This is the first time I've been back since the fire. It's very emotional for me."
Mick Philpott was jailed for life with a minimum term of 15 years after being convicted of six counts of manslaughter following a trial at Nottingham Crown Court earlier this year.
The trial heard that Philpott used petrol to set fire to his home in a bid to frame his mistress during a child custody battle.
His wife Mairead and Mosley were told they would each serve half of a 17-year sentence for their part in the plan to set fire to the property.
Workmen carrying out the demolition of the ill-fated house started the preliminary work of erecting scaffolding and carrying out safety inspections today ahead of the removal of the roof.
Scaffolding was set up on both properties, along with a corrugated metal fence, and signs put in place to inform the public of the demolition.
Workmen said that over the next couple of days work would concentrate on taking the roof tiles, lats, felt, and rafters from the roofs of the houses as part of the first stages to steadily dismantle t hem.
Derby City Council said the process of demolition is likely to take up to three weeks; one week to prepare the site and a further two weeks to take down both properties, beginning with the outbuildings and roofing structures.
New social housing is expected to be built on the site in due course.
Derby Demolition Ltd, John L Morgan & Sons, Maxplant Ltd and Ward Recycling have each agreed to donate their fee for the demolition work to Derbyshire Children's Holiday Centre in Skegness, which provides disadvantaged local children with holidays in the town.
Neighbours living along Victory Road did not want to discuss the demolition with reporters.
Mr Baggy Shanker, cabinet member for housing and chairman of the Neighbourhood Board in Sinfin, said: "I think we all welcome the demolition of these properties.
"Whilst the tragic deaths of the six Philpott children will never be forgotten, local people continue to move on and this is symbolic of the end of a very difficult time for the community."