Father 'set fatal fire to frame ex'

Romsey Advertiser: Mick Philpott and his wife Mairead are accused of killing their six children in a house fire in Derby Mick Philpott and his wife Mairead are accused of killing their six children in a house fire in Derby

A father accused of killing his six children in a house fire started the blaze as part of a "plan" to frame his ex-girlfriend after becoming locked in a custody battle with her, a court has heard.

Mick Philpott, along with his wife Mairead, allegedly started the fire at their semi-detached home after making reports to the police that his former partner, Lisa Willis, had been threatening him and his family.

There were emotional scenes during their manslaughter trial at Nottingham Crown Court as the 999 call made by the couple as the fire took hold was played to the jury.

Philpott stood and tried to leave the dock saying "I can't listen to it" before being made to sit down by security officers. He spent the remaining minutes sobbing, with his head bowed and hands over his ears as the call played out.

The court was told the family shared an unconventional lifestyle - Philpott, 56, his 31-year-old wife and Ms Willis, 28, all lived in the same house. A total of 11 children also lived there - six were those of Mick and Mairead Philpott, while four were his children with Ms Willis. Another child was Ms Willis's with another man.

Mick and Mairead Philpott's children - Jade, 10, and her brothers John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, Jayden, five, and Duwayne, 13 - all perished after the fire at their home in Victory Road, Allenton, Derby, in the early hours of May 11 last year. The couple, along with a third defendant, 46-year-old Paul Mosley, have all denied six separate counts of manslaughter in relation to the deaths.

At the start of their trial at Nottingham Crown Court, prosecutor Richard Latham QC told the jury the fire was started in the early hours of the morning on the day Ms Willis and Philpott were due in court to discuss the residency of the children. She had left Philpott and the Victory Road property in February last year, taking her children with her, and had become embroiled in a bitter battle with Philpott.

He planned to frame her and eventually win his children back, and had made numerous reports to the police that she had threatened him, his wife and the children, the jury heard.

Mr Latham told the jury of six men and six women: "By May 1st Mick Philpott was reporting to the police that Lisa Willis had made telephone threats to kill him. The police visited him, he was at times highly emotional and made it clear that he wanted Lisa arrested. If she had been this would have assisted him in the court proceedings, wouldn't it?"

About a fortnight before the fire Philpott told friends he had an idea for a way of getting Lisa and the children back, Mr Latham said. "He told people he had a plan up his sleeve and that she wasn't going to get away with it - watch this space."

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