Work has begun to demolish the home of Mick and Mairead Philpott – the couple jailed for lighting a fire that killed six of their children at the property.
Demolition began just after 8am at the fire-damaged semi-detached house in Victory Road, Derby, in a clearance expected to last several days. As a digger started pulling down brickwork, two neighbours hugged and shed a few tears.
Mick and Mairead Philpott were jailed in April, with friend Paul Mosley, after being convicted of killing the couple's six children in the petrol-fuelled blaze in Allenton.
Jade Philpott, 10, and her brothers John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, and Jayden, five, died in the blaze in May 2012. Duwayne, 13, died days later in hospital.
Workmen are flattening 18 Victory Road, the scene of the tragedy, and neighbouring property number 20, said Daniel Walsh, managing director of Derby Demolition Ltd.
“We've already taken the roofs off, then we're starting on number 20, which we've completely gutted inside…Then we'll start on number 18, but all the floors are still intact inside there,” he said.
Mr Walsh added: “The boys weren't happy about going inside to pull it apart, because of what happened so we've left it to the digger.”
He said it would take two days to fully demolish the properties, then work will start to clear the rubble.
Other than workmen and members of the media, there were few to witness the demolition's start other than a brief glance spared by passing school children and commuters walking to work.
One neighbour, a woman who lives opposite but declined to be named, said it was “time it happened”, adding: “I'll be glad when it's gone because it's gone on so long… I knew the children you see… It's become a monument for the wrong reasons.”
Last week, as workmen put up scaffolding around both vacant homes, Mairead's mother Vera Duffy briefly visited the scene to witness the work going on.
The 55-year-old said: “I'm here just to see it… The children will be resting in peace now.“
Derby City Council said demolition is likely to take up to two weeks, beginning with the outbuildings and roofing structures. New social housing is expected to be built on the site in due course.
Derby Demolition Ltd, John L Morgan & Sons, Maxplant Ltd and Ward Recycling have each agreed to donate their fee for the demolition work to Derbyshire Children's Holiday Centre in Skegness, which provides disadvantaged local children with holidays in the town.
Additional reporting PA