Wife in Derby fire deaths trial: Philpott was my guardian angel

 

The mother accused of starting the fire which killed her six children said they had been a happy and loving family prior to the fatal blaze.

Mairead Philpott, 31, told Nottingham Crown Court that her husband Mick, who is also accused of the manslaughter of the youngsters, had been her “guardian angel” after she had been raped and abused as a child and teenager.

Mrs Philpott described how she was a 19-year-old single mother at “rock bottom” when she met her husband, who was then aged 43.

She denied that the couple had a large family in order to claim benefits.  Under cross examination from her defence counsel Shaun Smith QC, Mrs Philpott agreed some might see the family as “unconventional”.  “Maybe to others it was but to us it was a happy family,“ she said.

“It got bigger for the love of children,” she added. Mrs Philpott said as a girl she dreamed of being a ballerina and later wanted to work in childcare.

She said she had been abused by her father and was later raped whilst on holiday as a teenager. At school she was bullied and left school before taking her GCSEs returning to take her exams but never collecting the results.

By the age of 16 she was pregnant with Duwayne – who died in the fire at Victory Road, Derby in May last year - along  with his five brothers and sisters Jade, 10, John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, and Jayden, five. Duwayne, 13, died in hospital later.

However, Duwayne’s father left her when she told him she was pregnant. Asked how she felt on the birth of her son she said: “I was over the moon. I just wanted to love him and protect him.”

Her next relationship was also abusive, she said, with her boyfriend beating her up, giving her black eyes and shaving off her hair so she was unable to go out.

By the time she met Mr Philpott she was at “rock bottom”. “He was my guardian angel,” Mrs Philpott told the jury. Mrs Philpott said her future husband “cared for me and loved me and made me feel safe” and proposed to her at hospital after the birth of their first child Jade.

Mr and Mrs Philpott and another man Paul Mosley, deny six counts of manslaughter. Mrs Philpott said she did not see the other two start the blaze. The prosecution has alleged they intended to frame Mr Philpott’s mistress Lisa Willis.

Ms Willis lived with the Philpotts along with her five children – four of whom were fathered by Mr Philpott – for 10 years until three months before the blaze.

Her decision to walk out is alleged to have sparked a bitter custody battle and there was due to be a court hearing to decide the children’s future on the morning of the fire.

Mrs Philpott said had feared she would lose everything when her husband asked her for a divorce to be with Ms Willis full time. He had previously slept with the women in his caravan in the garden on alternate nights.

”I was scared of losing what I had, my family, my home,“ Mrs Philpott told the court. The jury was previously told how money from both women’s jobs would be paid into a single account controlled by Mr Philpott. His wife alleged that when she asked for money ”there would be trouble“.

She claimed that it was her husband’s idea for her to have sex with co-defendant Mr Mosley and that she had gone dogging three of four times during which she had become pregnant by a stranger and had an abortion.

Mrs Philpott said she felt “disgusted” after taking part in the sex sessions including one on the family snooker table on the night of the fire.

Asked her why she did it, by Mr Smith QC she replied: “To please Mick, to make him happy.”

She said she had hoped Ms Willis would come back to the house as her children had been distraught when she moved out. The trial continues.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
football
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
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