Two arrested on suspicion of murder after fire kills five children
Father of 17 had allegedly received death threats and had been vilified by tabloids for his lifestyle
Two people were being questioned last night on suspicion of murder after a fire at a family home in which five children died and one was badly injured.
A 38-year-old man from Derby was arrested this afternoon by detectives investigating the deaths. Earlier a 28-year-old woman was also arrested in connection with the tragedy.
Witnesses described seeing Mick Philpott, a father of 17, being beaten back by flames and heat as he battled to save the children at the semi-detached house in Derby as desperate neighbours used a ladder to try to rescue them. The children were asleep upstairs when the fire broke out. A friend of the family said: "There was eight of them living there – the children wouldn't have had a chance to escape."
Mr Philpott, 55, whose large family and unusual living arrangements have prompted tabloid newspapers to label him a "benefits scrounger", escaped unhurt with a woman believed to be his wife Mairead, aged 30, the mother of four of his children.
A friend of the family said Mr and Mrs Philpott had allegedly been the subject of a number of death threats. Police said they were keeping a "very open mind" on how the fire started.
The children who died were Jade, 10, John, nine, Jack, seven, Jessie, six, and Jayden, five, who all attended St George's Catholic Primary School in Littleover, Derby. Duwayne, 13, was receiving specialist treatment at a hospital in Birmingham last night.
Thirty firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze. Derbyshire's Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cotterill said Mr Philpott had made "valiant attempts" to rescue the children. The victims were all carried out of the building, where paramedics tried to resuscitate them.
Julia Bosworth, 34, a neighbour and mother of six, described Mr Philpott as an "amazing" father. "They were brilliant kids, dead polite, always well behaved, well-dressed, clean," she said.
Mr Philpott, who is unemployed, was the subject of vitriolic newspaper stories six years ago when he asked Derby City Council to re-house him and his large family. The local authority said he had the largest property available. The household was said to receive £24,460 a year in benefits.
Mr Philpott appeared on the Jeremy Kyle Show and on the 2007 ITV series Ann Widdecombe Versus the Benefit Culture. Miss Widdecombe said: "Nobody would ever call him a bad father. I'm so sorry to hear the news and my thoughts are with the family."
In interviews, Mr Philpott described his unconventional life with his wife and mistress. "I'm a lucky man... I've got the love of two wonderful women and a house full of great kids."
Geoffrey Macnab reviews American Hustle, also starring Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
newsFormer soldier taped 33 of the animals to the floor and then stamped on them one by one
Michelle Nijhuis' daughter insists (s)he is, and she learnt a valuable lesson on gender in books
news Opponents claim it would stop performers such as Beyonce and Madonna appearing on TV
It takes a platoon of chefs, litres of brandy and rum, and almost 100kg of dried fruit
newsThat most ancient of crimes is on the rise, threatening farmers' livelihoods, community trust – and human health
food + drink
sportIf you thought the London Olympics and Wiggins' Tour glory made last year best, don't forget Murray's Wimbledon win and Farah's double
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 4 Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
- < Previous
- Next >