The Philpott Couple Await Sentencing Over Fire Deaths

Mick Philpott and Mairea Philpott
Mick Philpott and Mairea Philpott

Mick Philpott, the man convicted of starting a fire at his home that killed six children, will be sentenced on Thursday (today) as the prison service prepares to protect him from reprisal attacks.

Philpott, his wife Mairead and their friend Paul Mosley were on Tuesday found guilty of the manslaughter of the children as they slept in a house in Derby last May.

Barristers for the couple told a court hearing on Wednesday that they had been good parents and in spite of their complex private lives their children had been doing well.

All the three defendants are expected to be jailed when Justice Thirlwall sentences them at Nottingham crown court.

Mr Philpott, it was learnt had been on bail at the time of the fire after a violent road rage attack. He had punched a driver after forcing him to stop because he believed he had pulled out in front of him at a roundabout. He admitted common assault but was awaiting trial on a charge of dangerous driving, before the fire incident.

The prison service faces a great task of protecting the Philpotts once they are inside due to the notorious and high-profile nature of the manslaughter case.

According to Mrs Philpott’s barrister, she faced risks in prison because she had been convicted of killing children. Shaun Smith QC gave mitigating factors in the hearing as he tried to persuade the judge to pass a lower sentence.

“She will be forever known as a child killer,” Smith said.

Her real sentence, he said, would be the loss of her children and that she had been dominated by her husband during their 12-year relationship.

Smith told the judge there was “only one dominant person in that relationship”. He added: “She would do whatever he said, whatever he wanted,” and described her attempts to keep her husband’s affections as “utter folly”.

He said the children led happy lives despite living for a time with their mother, father and their father’s girlfriend. Smith told the judge: “The entirety of the evidence in this case is that Mairead Philpott was an extremely good mother to all 11 children. No one, we respectfully submit, can dispute the grief that she feels.”

Philpott who has a history of violence was convicted in December 1978 when he was 21, for attempting to murder a woman who wanted to leave him, stabbing her more than a dozen times.

Before attempting to murder her, Philpott had attacked her, breaking her fingers, and when Hill then wanted to leave him, Philpott became so enraged he decided to kill her so no other man could have her.

The court was also told that in 1991 Philpott headbutted someone while working and was given a conditional discharge for actual bodily harm. He was cautioned in 2010 for attacking his wife after slapping her in the face and dragging her out of the house.

The house in Derby was set ablaze in last May as part of a conspiracy in which Mr Philpott hoped to frame a former lover, Lisa Willis, for the arson as revenge for her leaving him and taking five children with her. Orchard said the plot to set the fire had gone “disastrously wrong” because it spread too quickly.