5 Apr 2013

UK couple jailed for killing children in house fire

10:40 am on 5 April 2013

A British father has been sentenced to life and his wife to a long jail term for killing six of their children in a house fire.

Mick Philpott, 56, was jailed for life by a judge at Nottingham Crown Court on Thursday and will serve a minimum of 15 years in prison.

He was convicted of manslaughter along with his wife Mairead, 32, and friend Paul Mosley, who were told they would serve half their 17-year sentences, the BBC reports.

The trial heard Philpott plotted to set fire to his house in Derby to frame his former mistress Lisa Willis, with whom he was fighting a custody battle over their children. If he gained custody, he hoped Miss Willis would return to live with him.

The judge at Nottingham Crown Court said Philpott was "the driving force behind this shockingly dangerous enterprise".

Mrs Justice Thirlwall told Philpott in her sentencing remarks: "You could not stand the fact that she had crossed you."

The judge said the children were subjected to a terrifying ordeal. "Their terror was the price they were going to pay for your callous selfishness. In fact, they paid with their six young lives."

The judge said Mairead Philpott had been treated "as a skivvy or a slave" by her husband.

She said it had become clear during the trial that the 32-year-old was prepared to go to any lengths to keep Philpott happy. "You put Michael Philpott above your children and as a result they have died."

The judge told Mosley he had nothing to do with Lisa Willis or her children, yet was prepared to go along with the plan to join in with it to please his then friend Michael Philpott.

The trial heard Philpott, his wife and his mistress had lived at the three-bedroom council house with 11 of their children until Miss Willis moved out in February 2012.

Jade Philpott, 10, nine-year-old John, eigh-year-old Jack, Jesse, six, and Jayden, aged five, died on the morning of the fire on 11 May 2012.

Mairead Philpott's son from a previous relationship, 13-year-old Duwayne, died later in hospital. The court heard Mick Philpott considered him his son.