Parents arrested on suspicion of murder after Derby house fire that killed six of their children

Mr Philpott was earlier praised by police for his 'valiant' attempts to rescuehis sleeping children

Police investigating the deaths of six children in an arson attack on their home have arrested their parents on suspicion of murder.

Mick Philpott and his wife, Mairead, were detained early yesterday morning at an address in Derby city centre following the blaze at their semi-detached house earlier this month.

All six children, aged between five and 13, were asleep at the time of the attack which happened in the early hours of 11 May. Police say petrol was used to start the blaze.

Jade Philpott, 10, and brothers John, nine, Jack, seven, Jessie, six, and Jayden, five, all died of smoke inhalation during the blaze. Their elder brother Duwayne, 13, died in the intensive care unit of Birmingham Children's Hospital two days later.

Mr Philpott, 55, an unemployed father of 17 children from several different relationships, has given numerous newspaper and television interviews after becoming a symbol of Britain's so-called benefits culture. He was dubbed "Shameless Mick" over his demands to be rehoused by his local authority and following appearances on The Jeremy Kyle Show. Shortly before the fire, he had been living at the property with Mairead, 31, and his girlfriend, with whom he had four children.

Neighbours in Victory Road in Allenton, Derby, expressed their dismay at the arrests. Mr Philpott was earlier praised by police for making "valiant" attempts to rescue the sleeping children.

The fire led to outpourings of support for the Philpotts. The couple made a brief appearance at a news conference during which they both wept uncontrollably. Mr Philpott thanked emergency services and well-wishers before announcing that Duwayne's organs had been donated for transplant.

He said the thought of helping another child "makes us happy and it takes a bit of the pain away".

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cotterill of Derbyshire Police called on anyone with further information to come forward. "I would urge anyone who may have been holding back, not felt comfortable to voice their concerns or not had the confidence, to do so now.

Police have stressed the complex nature of the investigation. A caravan and a minivan believed to have been used as overspill accommodation at the house have already been taken away by investigators. The force said forensic examinations were continuing at the house where hundreds of flowers and toys have been laid in tribute to the victims.

Among the lines of inquiry police investigated was whether anyone had a grudge against the family or if it was linked to Mr Philpott's celebrity. Mr Cotterill said that the family was so notorious it would have been known there were a large number of children in the house.

Two people arrested on suspicion of murder the day after the fire were later released without charge.

Life and Style
life
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Life and Style
Chen Mao recovers in BK Hospital, Seoul
health
News
Joan Rivers has reportedly been hospitalised after she stopped breathing during surgery
people81-year-old 'stopped breathing' during vocal chord surgery
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Diana from the Great British Bake Off 2014
tvProducers confirm contestant left because of illness
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
tv
Life and Style
fashion

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone