Derby house fire trial: Extraordinary account of drug use and swinging emerges as Mick Philpott gives evidence

 

A father accused of starting the fire in which his six children died said he had sex and smoked cannabis to blot out the horror of the blaze.

Mick Philpott, 56, put his head in his hands and slumped forward, doubling up and slipping out of sight in the witness box, as he gave evidence in his defence at the manslaughter trial.

“I was finding it very hard to cope. Having sex and smoking cannabis was one way of blocking it out. It was my idea not my wife’s,” he told Nottingham Crown Court.

The unemployed driver recalled feeling “hysterical” as he tried at first to punch and then smash through an upstairs window with a child’s tennis racquet in a bid to rescue the six children who were asleep at the family home in Victory Road, Derby, last May when the fire started.

Mr Philpott described how he and his wife Mairead were woken by the smoke alarm shortly after 2am.

He said he spotted an “orange glow” and on realising the house was alight he thought “my kids”. After failing to reach the children’s bedrooms upstairs he got dressed and used a ladder to climb to a first floor window.

“I was hysterical. How do you explain trying to get into your babies? You can’t explain it,” he said.

Earlier Mr Philpott, wearing a dark suit and a purple tie, described how he and his wife Mairead, 31, had spent the evening of the blaze with friend Paul Mosley, 46. All three deny six charges of manslaughter in relation to the fire.

The jury was told how Mr Philpott drove to a house to purchase cannabis for Mr Mosley. Later, after playing snooker with his friend whilst his wife watched television and made cups of coffee, the three engaged in a sexual act of which he said he was now “ashamed”. 

He said the night of the fire was the first time the trio had had sex together. They were to go on to do it “three or four” times after the blaze including one occasion which was captured on a police surveillance tape, the court heard. “It was something that happened and it shouldn’t have happened but I’m not happy,” he said.

Mr Philpott also said that the couple had been “dogging” previously in which they would be watched and watch other couples having sex.

On one occasion Mairead had become pregnant after having sex with a stranger and underwent an abortion, he said. Mr Philpott said he had been too ashamed to tell police about his sexual behaviour and drug taking.

Giving evidence the father of 17 admitted that neighbours found his living arrangements with his wife, mistress and their 11 children “disgusting”.

He said he regretted previous television appearances on Jeremy Kyle and with Ann Widdecombe after which they received death threats and people began to shout at him and his family in the streets.

Mr Philpott said he decided to take part in the programmes because he needed a bigger house.  "They (people) called them (the children) brats, scum of the earth," Mr Philpott said.

Under questioning from Anthony Orchard QC he conceded that he was not a shy man and that he often made enemies with people - until they got to know him, he claimed.

“I come across as too strong, too powerful. I have always been a happy go lucky guy,” he said.

Mr Philpott denied controlling and bullying the two women with whom he lived. Both went to work. He drove them to their jobs and the children to school each day whilst undertaking “general fatherly duties” such as playing snooker, darts and teaching the children to write, he said.

Both women’s wages were paid into his bank account along with the family’s benefit payments. But he told the jury that they had access to money and were free to come and go as they pleased. “My wallet was always left on the side with the bank cards in it. They never had to ask for money,” he said.

Mairead did the bulk of the housework and childcare, he said, whilst his “bond” with his mistress Lisa Willis, who had five children – four by him - had become stronger until they were “inseparable”.

He would spend the day with his wife whilst sleeping with his mistress in a caravan parked outside the home. “I treated her (Lisa) like a queen," he said.

However, she eventually left him in the months leading up to the blaze taking the children with her despite him having asked his wife “three or four times” for a divorce.

Mr Philpott and Ms Willis became embroiled in a battle for custody of the children. They were due to go to court on the morning of the blaze. Ms Willis had previously obtained a non-molestation order against her former lover.

At the time of the fire, which was started by petrol poured in the hallway of the house late at night, the Philpotts and their six children were content in the three bedroom house, he said.

Jade, 10, John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, and Jayden, five, died during the blaze. Their brother Duwayne, 13, was taken to Derby Royal Hospital and transferred to Birmingham Children's Hospital but died three days later.

The trial continues.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning: The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Sport
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier leaguePlus updates from Everton vs Palace
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleFirst memoir extracts show she 'felt pressured' into going out with the Sex Pistols manager
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late
Sport
Lewis Hamilton in action during the Singapore Grand Prix
Formula OneNico Rosberg retires after 14 laps
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
News
peopleActress tells men: 'It's your issue too'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam