Mick and Mairead Philpott jailed for killing six children in Derby house fire

Thursday 04 April 2013 23.31
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The six Philpott children died in the fire at their home on 11 May, 2012
The six Philpott children died in the fire at their home on 11 May, 2012
Mairead and Mick Philpott had made a public appeal before they were charged
Mairead and Mick Philpott had made a public appeal before they were charged

Mick Philpott has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 15 years after being found guilty of killing six of his children in a house fire in Derby.

Philpott's wife Mairead, 32, was jailed for 17 years after also being found guilty of killing the six children in the blaze in May last year.

Their friend Paul Mosley, 46, was sentenced to 17 years in jail for his role in the fire.

Philpott, 56, his wife and Mosley were all found guilty of killing Jade Philpott, ten, and her brothers John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, Jayden, five, and Duwayne, 13, in the fire at their home in Allenton on 11 May, 2012.

The trio started the fire in an attempt to frame Philpott's ex girlfriend, 29-year-old Lisa Willis, after she left the family home with her children three months earlier.

Mrs Justice Thirlwall told the defendants there was "no precedent" for the case.

She added: "It is, in my judgment, a uniquely grave set of offences."

The plot to set fire to the house and rescue the children was "a wicked and dangerous plan" and was "outside the comprehension of any right-thinking person", she said.

The judge said Philpott had become "obsessed" with Ms Willis and after she left he did everything to get her back.

She said: "You could not stand the fact that she had crossed you. You were determined to make sure she came back and you began to put together your plan."

Nottingham Crown Court heard the judge say the children were subjected to a terrifying ordeal.

She said: "Their terror was the price they were going to pay for your callous selfishness. In fact, they paid with their six young lives.

"Mercifully, the deaths were swift and, it would appear, without pain."

Philpott used previous conviction to 'terrify other women'

Mrs Justice Thirlwall told Philpott that women were his "chattels", saying: "You barked orders and they would obey. You were the kingpin. No-one else mattered."

The judge also said Philpott used his conviction for attempting to murder a girlfriend in 1978 to terrify other women.

She said: "You have repeatedly used that conviction as a means of controlling other women, terrified as to what you would do to them."

Philpott looked down at the floor, wiping tears from his eyes, as the judge passed sentence. His wife wept as she was jailed.

Mosley showed no reaction, sitting motionless and looking over at the public gallery.

Family members in the public gallery applauded as the judge finished her sentencing.

Philpott smiled and made an obscene gesture as he was led from the dock.

It emerged in court that unemployed Philpott was on bail for a violent road rage incident at the time of the children's deaths.

A week before the fire he had appeared in court and admitted common assault.

He had denied dangerous driving after punching another driver who he thought had pulled out in front of him at a roundabout.

In addition, in 1978 he was sentenced to seven years in prison after he repeatedly stabbed a former girlfriend.

He received a concurrent five-year sentence for grievous bodily harm with intent after also attacking her mother.

Philpott received a two-year conditional discharge in 1991 for assault occasioning actual bodily harm after he headbutted a colleague.

In 2010 he was given a police caution after slapping his wife and dragging her outside by her hair.

Dawn Bestwick, Philpott's sister, told reporters waiting outside court that justice had been done for the children.

"Victory to them," she said. "They've gone down. That's it."

She added that the six children could now "rest in peace".

Andy Lyons, Mosley's brother-in-law, said: "We don't have an eye for an eye.

"We're not a Third World country but the sentence is the best that the judge can give and makes England the greatest nation in the world."