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A.K.A.: "Mick"
Classification: Homicide
Characteristics: Arson - Revenge against his ex-lover - Philpott has fathered 17 children by various women
Number of victims: 6
Date of murders: May 11, 2012
Date of arrest: May 28, 2012
Date of birth: 1956
Victims profile: Jade Philpott (10), John Philpott (9), Jack Philpott (7), Jesse Philpott (6) and Jayden Philpott (5) were all killed in the fire; their brother, Duwayne Philpott (13) died in hospital two days later
Method of murder: Fire (smoke inhalation)
Location: Allenton, Derby, England, United Kingdom
Status: Sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum tariff of 15 years, on April 4, 2013
photo gallery 1 photo gallery 2 photo gallery 3

Michael "Mick" Philpott (born 1956) is an Englishman who, having gained notoriety as a criminal and for his polyamorous and benefits-funded lifestyle, subsequently caused the deaths of six of his children by arson and was sentenced to life imprisonment for their manslaughter in April 2013.

Philpott featured prominently in the media after 2006 as a result of his large family (he has fathered 17 children by various women), and his reliance on state benefits. In May 2012 he featured in the headlines again, when a fire at his home killed his wife's six children, all but one of whom he had fathered. In April 2013, following an eight-week trial, he and his wife Mairead, together with their friend Paul Mosley, were found guilty of manslaughter.

He is serving a life sentence with a minimum of 15 years' imprisonment. Philpott has been described by psychologist Glenn Wilson as clinically a "psychopath" and "exhibitionist" with "anti-social personality disorder".

Biography before 2012

Relationships with women and habitual violence

Philpott's attitude to women has been described as "controlling", "domineering", "violent", and "manipulative".

In July 1978, aged 21, while absent without leave from the army, he attempted to murder his girlfriend, Kim Hill, with whom he had had a two-year relationship, beginning when she was 15 years old. Philpott had previously shot Hill in the groin with a crossbow because he felt her dress had been too short, and had cracked her kneecap with a hammer when she paid too much attention to a baby she had been minding. Philpott attempted to kill Hill because she sent him a letter saying she was leaving him, stabbing her over a dozen times as she was lying in bed.

He stabbed her mother when she came to her daughter's aid. Hill suffered collapsed lungs, and a punctured bladder, kidney and liver, which she believes caused her subsequent liver cancer. Philpott was convicted of attempted murder of Hill, and grievous bodily harm with intent against her mother, and was sentenced to seven years in prison in December 1978. Philpott was released after three years and two months.

Philpott married Pamela Lomax in 1986. He had three children with Lomax, two sons and a daughter. Lomax said that Philpott was controlling, and she prayed he would move on to someone else. Her wish was fulfilled when Philpott met Heather Kehoe, then aged 14, in Rainworth, Nottinghamshire. Philpott was 37. On her 16th birthday, Kehoe ran away from her parents to live with Philpott. She gave birth to two children, both boys, in quick succession, but Philpott wanted a daughter, and beat Kehoe for this reason. She described Philpott teaching his older sons to be violent with her. Philpott wanted Kehoe to produce more children, but she did not conceive again. When Kehoe tried to run away, Philpott threatened her with violence, that he would do with her as he had done with Kim Hill.

In 1991, Philpott was given a two-year conditional discharge for assault occasioning actual bodily harm for headbutting a colleague. In 2000, Philpott met Mairead Duffy, a 19-year-old single mother born in England to an Irish family, who had left a previous abusive relationship. She moved into Philpott's house shortly after, and the couple married in May 2003.

In 2001, Philpott met Lisa Willis, a 16-year-old orphan and single mother. Philpott invited Willis to move into his council house, which was larger than hers, in 2002. After moving in, the pair started a relationship, and Philpott began to beat Willis, attacking her with a piece of wood, after accusing her about lying over the father of her child. Lisa Willis was bridesmaid at the wedding of Mick and Mairead. On 23 December 2002, having left Philpott, Kehoe finally gained legal custody of her two children. Philpott marked this event each year by smashing the family's Christmas tree, the violence showing his anger at his children being taken away.

2006–2007 media coverage

Philpott was heavily criticised in the tabloid media in 2006 when he requested a larger council house to house his family, which then consisted of his wife Mairead Philpott, then aged 25, his mistress Lisa Willis, then 22, and four children born to Mrs. Philpott, three to Lisa Willis, and Lisa Willis's child fathered prior to meeting him. The 1978 conviction for attempted murder was revealed at this time.

After Willis gave birth to her fourth child by Philpott in 2006, the press revealed that both she and Mairead Philpott were expecting babies, due in March 2007. Before their birth, Philpott appeared on The Jeremy Kyle Show in 2007 to defend his lifestyle, saying that he would like to marry one woman and divorce the other, to be fair, and added that he would have a vasectomy.

He appeared in a documentary, Ann Widdecombe Versus the Benefits Culture (2007), in which the former Conservative minister Ann Widdecombe spent a week with him and tried to get him to change his lifestyle. Nancy Banks-Smith in The Guardian reported that she gave him "a large slice of her mind", but "decamped" rather than sleep in his caravan. Widdecombe found Philpott three jobs, one of which was with a barrel-making firm, but he did not turn up for work on the first day and the job fell through.

In the documentary, Philpott was shown to be living in a caravan in his garden, in which his wife and mistress would alternate in spending nights with him. Widdecombe said that Philpott did not care about anyone and that he called both his wife and mistress "bitch". Widdecombe said she noticed that none of the children sought affection from him.

Later incidents

He has had no further children as far as is known. However, it was revealed during his manslaughter trial that Mairead became pregnant to another man while the couple were dogging, an activity in which they began to participate during 2011. Philpott instructed Mairead to have an abortion, which she did. In 2010 he was given a police caution for slapping his wife and dragging her outside by her hair.

A court hearing a week before the fire concerned a road rage incident during November 2011 in which he had punched another driver, for which Philpott had pled guilty to common assault, but denies dangerous driving. At the hearing Philpott was bailed and was awaiting trial.

Philpott and Lisa Willis became estranged in February 2012, and she left to live with her sister and brother-in-law, along with her four children by Philpott and her son by a different father. On the day of the fire, intended as a means of framing Willis to gain child custody, Philpott and Willis were due in court for a hearing over the children.

Arson and deaths at Philpott's home in 2012


On 11 May 2012, the family's home at 18 Victory Road, Allenton, Derby, was seriously damaged by fire at around 4am. Five children—Jade (10), John (9), Jack (7), Jesse (6) and Jayden (5) Philpott, who had been asleep upstairs—all died at the scene, while their half-brother, Duwayne Philpott (13), died in hospital three days later.

In the days following the fire, the family's local Catholic church held memorial services. On 16 May, Philpott and his wife held an emotional news conference, in which they purported to describe the events concerning the fire.

A charity, Catch Me When I Fall, was set up by local residents to help the family of the children. A book of condolence at Derby Cathedral was later signed by hundreds of people. A fund to pay for the funerals raised over £11,000 by members of the public living in the same area as the Philpotts. The childrens' joint funeral took place on 22 June 2012 at St Mary's Church, Derby. Mick and Mairead Philpott, by then on remand on murder charges, were denied leave to attend.

Criminal investigation

On 14 May, police stated that petrol had been found inside the letterbox, thus sparking a murder investigation.

Lisa Willis, Philpott's live-in mistress, had left the family home with her four children a few months before the fire, and a custody hearing for these children was scheduled to take place on the morning of the fire. Willis and her brother-in-law Ian Cousins were initially arrested on suspicion of murder, but were released without charge.

Philpott behaved erratically for someone who had recently lost several of his children, according to witnesses, and appeared to like the attention. The police bugged the Philpotts' hotel room, gaining evidence confirming the couple were responsible for the fire. including the involvement of Paul Mosley, with whom Mairead Philpott was heard engaging in sexual intercourse.

Philpott and his wife were arrested on suspicion of murder on 28 May 2012. After seeking additional time for questioning, the couple were charged with murder on 30 May 2012. A discarded petrol container and glove had been found near the house, and in November the forensic investigators discovered that the clothes of the Philpotts and Mosley had petrol on them.

On 5 November 2012, a 49-year-old man and a 45-year-old man were arrested on suspicion of murder. Later that day, the 45-year-old man, Paul Mosley, was charged with murder. The other man was released without charge. Mosley appeared in court the following day. In December 2012 his charge was downgraded to manslaughter. Paul Mosley had previously been arrested in the enquiry and was released on bail in June 2012. He was re-arrested and charged when petrol was found on his clothing following further forensic examination.

In December 2012 the charges were reduced to manslaughter, as it was decided that Philpott and his wife had not intended to kill their children.

Trial and sentencing

The trial was held at Nottingham Crown Court, beginning on 12 February 2013. Richard Latham QC led the prosecution on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service. Anthony Orchard QC led the defence for Mick Philpott, Sean Smith QC led the defence for Mairead Philpott, and Benjamin Nolan QC led the defence for Mosley. On 2 April, Mick and Mairead, along with Paul Mosley, were each found guilty of the manslaughter of the six children.

Sentencing was due to take place on 3 April, but was postponed as the judge, Mrs Justice Thirlwall, wanted more time to consider the sentence. Philpott's prior criminal convictions, which had not been revealed to the jury, were disclosed at this point. On 4 April, Philpott was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum tariff of 15 years, and his wife and Mosley were each sentenced to 17 years (of which they will serve at least half before any release on licence).

As a result of the trial, Lisa Willis and her children were given a new legal identity, in order to protect them from being the subject of media attention.


The Allenton house fire occurred on 11 May 2012 at 18 Victory Road, a semi-detached house in a residential street in Allenton, Derby, Derbyshire, England. Five children died in the fire, while another later died in hospital.

The parents of the children, Mairead and Mick Philpott, were later arrested and charged with murder, along with their friend Paul Mosley. In December 2012 their charges were downgraded to manslaughter. On 2 April 2013, Mick Philpott and Paul Mosley were found guilty by unanimous verdicts, while Mairead Philpott was found guilty by majority verdict.


The children were asleep upstairs in the house when the fire began, with their parents downstairs. Their father, Mick Philpott, was reported to have made "valiant" attempts to save them. Jade Philpott (10), John Philpott (9), Jack Philpott (7), Jesse Philpott (6) and Jayden Philpott (5) were all killed in the fire; post-mortem tests revealed the children died of smoke inhalation. Their brother, Duwayne Philpott (13) died in hospital two days later. Two adults suffered minor injuries in the fire, but have not been formally identified.

Police confirmed that the fire was started deliberately, with petrol underneath the letterbox, in an act of arson, stating that "Initial indications are that it was deliberately set and as a result six children have been unlawfully killed."

A church service was held in memory of the children at the Catholic church of St George's in Littleover. A charity, Catch Me When I Fall, was set up by local residents to help the family of the children. A book of condolence at Derby Cathedral was later signed by hundreds of people.


A 38-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of murder, but were later released without charge following questioning. Following the release of the pair Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cotterill said that "While I thank those members of the community who have come forward with information I am surprised by how few people have contacted us. Normally in cases of this scale more information is passed to the police...I strongly suspect that there is someone out there in the community who knows more than we are being told."

The parents of the children, Mick and Mairead Philpott, were arrested on suspicion of murder on 29 May and charged with their murders the following day.

On 5 November 2012, a 49-year-old man and a 45-year-old man were arrested on suspicion of murder. Later that day, the 45-year-old man, Paul Mosley, was charged with murder. The other man was released without charge. Mosley appeared in court the following day. In December 2012 his charge was downgraded to manslaughter. Paul Mosley had previously been arrested in the enquiry and was released on bail in June 2012. He was re-arrested and charged when petrol was found on his clothing following further forensic examination.


The criminal trial began on 12 February 2013 at Nottingham Crown Court before judge Mrs Justice Thirlwall. Richard Latham QC led the prosecution on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service. Anthony Orchard QC led the defence for Mick Philpott, Sean Smith QC led the defence for Mairead Philpott, and Benjamin Nolan QC led the defence for Mosley.

On 2 April, Mick and Mairead Philpott, along with Paul Mosley, were each found guilty of the manslaughter of the six children. On 4 April, Philpott received a sentence of life imprisonment, and will serve a minimum of 15 years, while his wife and Mosley received 17 years imprisonment for their part.


Mick Philpott guilty: Timeline of the main events

Philpott said his council house in Allenton, Derby, was too cramped to accommodate his many children and he wanted the city council to rehouse them

April 2, 2013

The Philpott family first burst into public consciousness in 2006 after publicly demanding a larger council house. The tragic death of six of their children stunned the nation. The couple were found guilty of manslaughter on April 2.



The Philpott family hit the national headlines after Mick Philpott demanded a larger house for him to share with his wife Mairead, mistress Lisa Willis, and their children.

Philpott said his council house in Allenton, Derby, was too cramped to accommodate his many children and he wanted the city council to rehouse them. He said at the time he was frustrated that the council had failed to find him a house.

He told the Derby Telegraph: "They always come up with the same excuses. They're just not good enough. I love my country, but at the moment I feel ashamed of it. I think the country is going down the pan."

In the same year Mick Philpott appeared on 'The Jeremy Kyle Show' in which he revealed he was prepared to divorce his wife, marry Miss Willis, then divorce her simply so that she would not feel left out because she did not share the Philpott family name.

During his television appearance, Philpott also told show host Kyle that he was "very, very defensive" when it came to his family.

Reacting to perceived criticisms people made of his life, he said: "Do they know me as a family, do they know my kids? I don't think so.

"Anybody who wants to see me, my other partner and my kids - they can come and stop with me for a week and I guarantee after a week they'll be amazed, especially at the way my children behave. My children are brought up properly."


Philpott appears in a documentary, 'Ann Widdecombe Versus The Benefit Culture', in which the MP spent a week living with the family. The programme led to him being dubbed "Shameless Mick" for his benefit claims and refusal to get a job.


February 11

Lisa Willis moves out of the Philpott home in 18 Victory Road, Allenton, Derby, taking her five children, four fathered by Mick Philpott, with her. This event is said to be the catalyst of the fire.

May 11

03.46am Emergency services are called to a house fire at 18 Victory Road.

Five children - Jade Philpott 10, and her brothers John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, and Jayden, five - are pronounced dead in Derby Royal Hospital.

Duwayne Philpott, 13, is taken to Birmingham Children's Hospital.

Lisa Willis and a 38-year-old man are arrested in connection with the fire. Miss Willis is later released by police with no further action taken.

A pre-scheduled court hearing at which Miss Willis and Mick Philpott were due to discuss residency of their children is postponed due to the tragedy.

May 12

Post-mortem examinations of the children were carried out by a Home Office pathologist.

Duwayne Philpott continues to fight for his life with his parents at his bedside at Birmingham Hospital.

May 13

Duwayne Philpott dies overnight at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

May 14

Derbyshire Police confirm the fire was started deliberately. Post-mortem examinations carried out over the weekend confirm Jade, Jack, Jesse, John, and Jayden Philpott died of smoke inhalation.

May 15

A post-mortem examination reveals Duwayne died as a result of hypoxic ischaemic brain injury, the combination of inhalation of the products of combustion and the consequence of a cardiac arrest.

Police begin bugging the Philpotts' hotel room at the Premier Inn, Southmead Way, Derby.

May 16

A tearful Mick and Mairead Philpott give a press conference, in conjunction with Derbyshire Police, to dozens of reporters.

Detectives confirm that the seat of the fire was below the letterbox in the hallway of the house and that petrol was used as the accelerant.

May 18

An inquest into the children's deaths is opened and adjourned at Derby Coroner's Court. Coroner Dr Robert Hunter appeals to those responsible to come forward out of human decency and assist the police with their inquiries.

May 21

A minibus and caravan are removed from the driveway of 18 Victory Road by police for forensic examination.

May 29

Mick and Mairead Philpott are arrested on suspicion of murder.

May 30

Mick and Mairead Philpott are charged with murder.

May 31

People in the public gallery at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court shout "b******s" and "scum" at the couple as they appear in the dock.

June 1

More shouts from the public gallery as the pair make their first appearance at Nottingham Crown Court.

June 20

A 45-year-old man from Derby is arrested and released on police bail until September in connection with the fire.

Funeral service takes place for the six children at St Mary's Catholic Church in Derby. Mick and Mairead are refused prison leave to attend the service over fears for their safety.

November 5

Paul Mosley, 45, of Cecil Street, Derby, is arrested and charged with the murder of six children who died as a result of a house fire in Derby in May.

November 6

Paul Mosley is remanded into custody at Derby Magistrates' Court.

November 8

Mick and Mairead Philpott plead not guilty to six counts of murder at Nottingham Crown Court. Mosley appears alongside them in the dock but does not enter a plea to the same charges.

November 29

The three appear at Birmingham Crown Court. A new trial date is set for February 11 2013. Mosley does not enter a plea.

December 17

Murder charges changed to manslaughter at Birmingham Crown Court.
Mick and Mairead Philpott plead not guilty to six counts of manslaughter via videolink. Paul Mosley appears in the dock at the same hearing and also enters not guilty pleas to same charges.


February 12

Trial begins at Nottingham Crown Court.

April 2

Mick and Mairead Philpott, and Paul Mosley, are found guilty of manslaughter.


'They never stood a chance': Sickening images of the blackened home where six Philpott children died as their father, mother and a family friend are found guilty of killing them in botched arson plot

  • Petrol-fuelled blaze broke out in the hallway of the home in May last year

  • Philpotts hatched plan to set up mother of five of Mick's children, Lisa Willis, hours before custody battle

  • Mick Philpott shared house with wife, Ms Willis and 11 kids he had with both women

  • Blaze killed Duwayne, Jade, John, Jack, Jessie and Jayden, aged between five and 13

  • After verdicts, Mick Philpott makes the sign of a cross and says: 'It's not over yet'

  • His sister, Dawn Bestwick, says 'justice has been served'

  • CPS: 'This has been a challenging and harrowing case to prosecute'

  • Philpott 'just wanted house full of kids and benefit money that brings'

  • All three defendants will be sentenced at 10.30am tomorrow

By Simon Tomlinson -

April 2, 2013

Mick and Mairead Philpott were today found guilty of killing six of their children in a house fire in Derby as part of a botched attempt to frame his former lover.

The couple were convicted of the manslaughter of their ‘babies’ after a seven-week trial where Mick Philpott repeatedly sobbed in the dock, collapsing when the prosecution accused him of planning the fire that ended in tragedy.

But the jury refused to accept his excuse that someone had started the fire through his letter box, instead believing he was the mastermind of a plot that went 'horribly wrong'.

A third defendant, Philpott's friend Paul Mosley, was also found guilty of six counts of manslaughter.

As the jury delivered its verdicts in respect of 56-year-old Philpott, he stood in the dock staring straight ahead with his hands clasped in front of him.

As the court returned guilty verdicts on his wife, he shook his head and she looked down at the floor and fought back tears while clutching a tissue in both her hands.

Mosley showed no emotion as he heard the guilty verdicts.

Before leaving the dock, as the judge rose for a short break after emotional outbursts in the packed public gallery, Philpott, wearing a grey suit, white shirt and pink tie, crossed himself and was heard to say: 'It's not over yet.'

People in the public gallery erupted in tears and shouts as the verdicts came in. Members of the public hugged one another as they sobbed.

A spectator in the public gallery shouted: 'You murdering b******. You heard me. I told you didn't I.'

'No f***** listened to me from day one.' She was escorted from the courtroom.

The judge, Mrs Justice Kate Thirwall, told the court she will sentence all three defendants at 10.30am tomorrow.

After the case, Mick Philpott's sister, Dawn, said 'justice had been served'.

In a statement read on the steps of Nottingham Crown Court by Detective Constable Maria Needs, Mick Philpott's sister Dawn Bestwick, said: 'My family and I have attended court each and every day and listened objectively to all the evidence in this trial to understand what happened to our six beautiful children on May 11, 2012.

'Our presence in court was to find out the truth. Following today's verdict, we the family of Michael Philpott, believe justice has been served.'

Mairead Philpott's family, the Duffy family, also issued a statement.

It said: 'On 11 May 2012 Duwayne, Jade, John, Jack, Jesse and Jayden were taken away in the cruellest way imaginable by the very people who were supposed to love and protect them.

'We, Mairead's family, cannot describe the pain we feel. Today, justice has been served and we are happy with the verdict. We would like to thank everybody involved in this case.'

Derbyshire Chief Constable Steve Cotterill said: 'This has to be one of, if not the most upsetting cases any of us has ever investigated.

'This is a shocking case for everyone involved. Six young children lost their lives needlessly in a fire and all our efforts have been focused on getting justice for those children.'

Samantha Shallow, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: 'Today's verdict shows that the children died as a result of the actions of Michael and Mairead Philpott and Paul Mosley when they set the fire.

'It was started as a result of a plan between the three of them to turn family court proceedings in Mr Philpott's favour. It was a plan that went disastrously and tragically wrong.

'This has been a challenging and harrowing case to prosecute.'

As the verdicts came through, shocking images were released for the first time showing the charred and gutted interior of the property.

Fire investigators said temperatures in the upstairs bedrooms of 18 Victory Road in Allenton, Derby, would have reached more than 500C (932F) during the blaze and that anyone in those rooms did not stand a chance of survival.

Thick, black smoke would have quickly filled each of the rooms from floor to ceiling, rendering Jade Philpott, 10, and her brothers Duwayne, 13, John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, and Jayden, five, unconscious in minutes.

From the moment the fire was set in the hallway in the early hours of May 11, the flames would have surged up the uPVC front door, melting the plastic, and quickly progressed up the staircase with the help of varnished wood panelling.

All the upstairs doors were open during the blaze, allowing the smoke to quickly flood the three bedrooms in which the youngsters slept.

Soon after the fire, Mick and Mairead Philpott made a tearful appeal on national television for information, but it was all a ruse to try to cover their tracks.

Evidence at the trial and an extraordinary dossier of secret recordings gathered by police publicly released today revealed they were heard asking 'if they were sticking to their story.'

In one recording, the father-of-17 tells his wife: ‘It’s my fault that half the family’s gone. I should have seen it all coming, duck.’

And in another recording, he tells Mairead in a police van: ‘My brief said that for the judge to do what he’s doing, he’s got to have some big balls because there’s no evidence - they’ve got nothing.'

The blaze was part of a 'plan' Philpott had to frame his former mistress Lisa Willis, 29, who had left the family home three months earlier, the court heard.

She and her five children, four of whom were fathered by Philpott, had lived with the Philpotts and their six children for 10 years before they left in February last year.

The fire happened at around 3.45am on May 11, just hours before Philpott, who was father to a total of 17 children by five different women, and Miss Willis were due to appear at a pre-scheduled court hearing to discuss residency of their children.

The court date was postponed following the fire.

During the trial, prosecutor Richard Latham QC said Philpott 'just wanted a house full of kids and the benefit money that brings' and tried to set up his former lover Lisa Wills in a bid to win custody of their children.

Dave Coss, watch manager at Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, was part of the team that investigated the fire.

Speaking at Derby Kingsway fire station, Mr Coss said the children 'didn't stand a chance'.

The petrol-fuelled blaze broke out in the hallway of the home where Philpott lived with wife Mairead, 31, and their own six children – all of whom perished as they slept.

Philpott had six children with Mairead, 31, and four with girlfriend Ms Willis, 29, as well as seven others from three previous relationships.

The court heard that until three months before the blaze last May, ‘highly controlling’ Philpott shared his cramped three-bedroom semi-detached home with his wife, mistress and all 11 children he had with both women.

The court heard that in the days after the fire, Mosley visited the couple while they were being housed in a hotel by police.

The room had been bugged by police and Philpott watched as his wife performed a sex act on Mosley. Afterwards he praised his wife, acknowledging that she did not want to perform the act.

Mr Latham told the jury they ‘may conclude’ the sexual favour was carried out to keep Mosley ‘onside’.

The court heard Philpott controlled all aspects of the family finances, with all benefit money paid towards the children’s upkeep along with the two women’s meagre part-time income paid straight into his account – the same arrangement he had instigated with both his first wife and another woman he then left her for.

Mr Latham said it was only after Miss Willis left and was rehoused by the local authority that she discovered she had been entitled to more than £1,000 a month in benefits to help look after the children.

As a harrowing 999 call made by the Philpotts from the garden of their Derby home was played to the court, Philpott shouted ‘I can’t listen to it’ and attempted to leave the dock, but was subdued by security staff.

Towards the end of the call, his wife, who dabbed tears from her eyes in the dock, could be heard wailing uncontrollably in the background of the call.

The court heard that after tiring of Philpott’s ‘domineering’ behaviour, Miss Willis decided to leave him.

Exactly three months before the blaze, she walked out without warning, taking the children first to her sister’s home, then into a women’s refuge before she was eventually rehoused by the local authority.

The couple became involved in a bitter row over the residency of the children, with Philpott telling friends Miss Willis had made threats against his home and children, something he would ‘use in court to get his children back’.

Mr Latham said Philpott was deeply troubled by her leaving, to the point that he had become depressed and even tried to take his own life.

He steadily became 'obsessed with getting Lisa and the kids back' and part of his distress was because of the simple fact that Miss Willis had left him.

The court heard how neighbours tried to rescue the children from the burning house but were beaten back by the smoke and flames.

When the bodies of the children were carried out of the house by police, Philpott ran forward and had to be restrained, Mr Latham said.

'It must have been quite clear the plan had gone horribly wrong.'

Philpott was heard telling people Miss Willis threatened to kill them or to set fire to the house.

'She was being set up as the culprit,' Mr Latham said.

Philpott told neighbours the children were in the back bedroom of the house.

'Is this where they were expected to be as part of the plan to rescue them?,' Mr Latham said.

Philpott told police he was playing snooker with Mosley before the fire broke out.

He said Mosley left before 2am and Michael and Mairead fell asleep watching a film, but they were woken by a smoke alarm and he discovered a large fire in the hall.

He called 999 and handed the phone to his wife before climbing a ladder in the back garden and smashing a hole in the back window. He said the black smoke beat him back.

Police reported his behaviour following the fire as 'unusual', the court heard.

One constable said Philpott showed 'no emotion' and acted as if at a social event.

At the hospital, onlookers described him as looking 'spotlessly clean' for someone who had been in a house fire, Mr Latham said.

Mick Philpott claimed during the trial that traces of petrol were found on him only because he had not bathed for three months.

Philpott made the admission on his second day of giving evidence at court and argued that it explained why traces of petrol were found on him after the fire.

The petrol had been there for several weeks from another incident, he insisted.

In the wake of the tragedy, one local, Bobby Sutherland, was inspired to set up a charity to help pay for the children's funerals, who he said Philpott loved desperately.

Fighting back tears as he stood in the street outside the fire-ravaged family home, Mr Sutherland said at the time: 'Yeah they can slag him off, but he loved his kids.

'Who doesn't make a mistake?

'Yeah you make mistakes but you don't deserve that. Nobody deserves that. You know what I mean?'

Weeks after the blaze the parents were charged, shocking the nation along with members of the community who had seen Philpott as a loving family man.

Local feeling turned to anger and upset - a disgruntled group even stood outside court ahead of the couple's first appearance and hurled abuse as prison vans drove them in.

But the community of Allenton pressed ahead with raising money to ensure the children were buried with dignity.

Hundreds of mourners attended the service at St Mary's Church in Derby six weeks after the blaze.


Michael Philpott is a perfect parable for our age: His story shows the pervasiveness of evil born out of welfare dependency

By A.N. Wilson for the Daily Mail

April 2, 2013

His house, his booze, his drugs, his women and his 17 children were paid for by a benefits system meant to be a safety net for the truly needy.

The trial of Michael Philpott and his wife Mairead is over, and they have been convicted of multiple manslaughter.

This was one of the most horrible crimes committed against children in Britain in recent years. It was cynical. It was calculating. And it was done out of malice in a ham-fisted plot which went wrong.

The trial spoke volumes about the sheer nastiness of the individuals involved. But it also lifted the lid on the bleak and often grotesque world of the welfare benefit scroungers — of whom there are not dozens, not hundreds, but tens of thousands in our country.

There is a reason why Philpott, 56, lived with both his wife Mairead, 31, and his mistress Lisa Willis, 28. As the prosecutor at his trial explained: ‘Michael Philpott did not want to work. He just wanted a house full of kids and the benefit money that brings.’

That is why a total of 11 children lived in the house before Lisa Willis moved out, taking five of them with her.

Six were the offspring of Philpott and his wife. Four were his children with Lisa Willis, and another child was Willis’s by another man.

Philpott had also fathered another six children by three other women. As far as can be known, he never contributed so much as a penny towards the upkeep of any of these 17 children, all of whom were born into dependency on state benefits.

His story throws into surreal relief the row between the Tories and Labour this week about Iain Duncan Smith’s much-needed benefit reforms. While the Left and the Church cry that they are unfair and immoral, the Government argues calmly that what is immoral is leaving families such as Michael Philpott’s to languish on benefits for generations.

Indeed, Philpott never even attempted to find a job. The children owed their existence to his desire to milk the welfare system.

Of course this is a story of tragedy — six children have been killed in horrible circumstances. It is also a story of great human wickedness for, even if the plot had gone according to plan and the children had been rescued, Philpott and his wife were conspiring to make it look as if another person had attempted to murder them.

But where did all this evil come from? Evil no doubt comes from the heart of human beings and we are all capable, in one way or another, of wrongdoing.

And yet, and yet... throughout this painful trial, as the evidence was so slowly and painstakingly heard, it was impossible not to think of it as a hateful parable of our times.

Those six children, burnt to a cinder for nothing, were, in a way, the children of those benevolent human beings who, all those years ago, created our state benefits system.

But when, in 1942, Sir William Beveridge laid the foundation of our welfare state with his report on how to slay the ‘five giants’ of Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness once victory was won in the war, he could never have foreseen how it would be so criminally abused.

Two years ago, the BBC showed a six-part documentary called The Scheme (which is the Scottish word for a housing estate). It was about benefit junkies living on a ‘scheme’ in North Kilmarnock and was deplored by some as ‘poverty porn’, satisfying viewers’ vicarious interest in the lives of the poor.

But the people living on the scheme are not poor by the standards of those living in the slums of Mumbai, let alone struggling for survival in famine-stricken north-east Africa.

The houses on the scheme are heated, they have bathrooms and lavatories and kitchens and television sets — as did the Philpott house in Derby.

The respectable people on the scheme were passionate gardeners — old people who led a perfectly decent existence there.

It was the next generation down, the ones who had been corrupted by the benefits system, who were trapped in a cycle of drug abuse, criminality, prison and a pathetic inability to see that they had done anything wrong.

Like Michael Philpott, they were moral degenerates.

I have a vision in my head still, two years after the programmes were aired, of one woman lying in bed with a fag in her hand, yelling at her truanting children to get up and go to school.

She had not got up herself. She would not be able to stir herself to look for a job. Her children were doomed to be as feckless as she was.

She had been dismissed from her job in a meat-packing factory. Like all the other people on the programme (except the old gardening enthusiasts) she exuded self-pity. Her neighbour, who was ‘done for a racial’ — ie, arrested for appalling, abusive behaviour towards the hard-working local Asian shopkeeper — spoke of this as if it was very bad luck rather than bad behaviour.

Likewise, when the others on the scheme were found drug dealing, pilfering, scrounging, lying or indulging in acts of violence, it was never their fault. Always someone else’s fault, or a bit of bad luck.

Michael Philpott sobbed after he had killed six children — but they were not tears of penitence, they were of simple self-pity and horror at having being found out.

Whatever welfare system we were to devise, there would always be nasty individuals; and few are so nasty as Michael Philpott.

Yet the particular manner in which his nastiness was exercised, and the way in which he lived, was the direct consequence of his being able to live scot-free at the expense of the taxpayer. Philpott was a domestic tyrant who controlled all the money coming into the house. When Willis, his mistress, moved out, the court was told, she did not realise that he had been receiving more than £1,000 a month for her children.

This was a family, and a collection of human beings, who were on benefits the way other people are on drugs. Many, of course, are on both, for idleness breeds depression, and if you are depressed, unemployed and unemployable, then taking drugs numbs the pain.

It also diminishes your capacity to get up in the morning, keep to a timetable or do any of the things that would enable you to get a job.

One of the most gruesome moments of the trial came when Philpott was in the witness box, answering questions from his defence counsel. Asked why he had petrol stains on his trousers, he said he had lent his lawn strimmer to a neighbour several months earlier. In 12 weeks he had not changed his trousers, nor had a bath or a shower.

Even more revolting was the evidence of his wife that, hours before the children died, she had been indulging in a threesome with Philpott and their arson accomplice — fork-lift driver Paul Mosley, also this week found guilty of manslaughter — on the couple’s snooker table.

Philpott was always on the dole, never looking for a job, always on the scrounge. His house was paid for, his utterly feckless way of life was paid for, his children were paid for, by taxpayers.

The cannabis he smoked in front of the telly had been paid for by someone else who went out to work and paid taxes. So had the telly.

Otherwise, this sleazy, awful human being did nothing useful with his life. The court heard how he enjoyed ‘dogging’, where couples watch strangers having sex, or are watched by others having sex in public places, such as car parks. His poor, tragic children came into the world as a result of such sordid pastimes.

Philpott happened to live in Derby, but versions of the Philpott family can be found in any town in Britain.

Whole blocks of flats, whole tenement buildings are filled with drug-taking benefit fraudsters, scroungers and people on the make.

The riots that began in Tottenham, North London, two summers ago, and then spread to other British cities, showed what has happened to Britain as a result of the perversion of our benefits system.

We have turned into a country where ordinary morality — the simple concept that you do not take what is not yours — does not seem to register in whole rafts of society.

Many of the looters were in full employment, many were grown-ups, but they still had the Philpott morality — they had been programmed into believing they were entitled to ‘something for nothing’.

What the Philpott trial showed was the pervasiveness of evil caused by benefit dependency. The welfare state, which was designed to provide a safety net for those in genuine need, worked only in those vanished times, more than half a century ago, when there remained a culture of honesty, respect for the police and the law.

Those of us who grew up in ‘Austerity Britain’ thought of William Beveridge with his compassionate report, which invented the welfare state, and Clement Attlee, the prime minister who put it into account, as heroes, and we thought of ourselves as their children.

They were heroes with the most honourable of intentions, determined that the conditions they had witnessed during the 1930s and the war — hungry children suffering from rickets and tuberculosis, appalling housing conditions, the persecution of the unemployed — would never come to Britain again.

In post-war Britain, where there was high employment and everyone had to accept a low standard of living, it really looked as if a just and decent society was being formed. A society in which benefits helped those who genuinely could not help themselves.

But in time, the welfare state became an exercise in Whitehall empire-building.

Ever more people were entitled to welfare and, understandably, ever more people grabbed it. When Attlee left office in 1951, we spent just £700 million a year on welfare (not including health and pensions), which accounted for 4.7 per cent of Britain’s gross domestic product.

By 2011/12, the benefits system had become an uncontrollable leviathan and we were spending more than £200 billion a year — even allowing for inflation, that’s 13 per cent of GDP.

With such sums being disbursed so readily, little wonder there is so much waste and fraud. Until recently, more than two million people of working age claimed disability benefit.

Are we really so infirm as a nation? Evidently not, given that since the Government brought in tougher tests, 878,000 people have chosen not to be reassessed, while a further 837,000 have been declared fit for work.

Some 13 per cent of the population live in households where absolutely no one works — compared with just three per cent in Japan. The litany of depressing statistics goes on and on.

Now, when I close my eyes and think of the ‘children’ of the founders of the welfare state, I do not see the hard-working people of Austerity Britain.

I see, rather, Duwayne, John, Jack, Jade, Jesse and Jayden — killed not only by their father but also by the system which had been designed with the best intentions to help them but has now been corrupted seemingly beyond repair.

What possible chance did any of them have of growing up as the sort of decent, sensible members of society envisioned by the idealistic social engineers of the 1940s and 1950s who created that system?

If Beveridge and Attlee’s wishes had been fulfilled, there would never have been a family like that of Michael Philpott.

Philpott himself would have been decently employed and his children would all have received an excellent education from the state in selective, well-disciplined, well-funded local schools.

They might have gone on to become teachers, civil servants, engineers, pharmacists, retailers and wealth creators, buoying up the national economy by paying their taxes.

Philpott did not suddenly decide, after a blameless life, to set fire to his house, with six children inside it, and blame it on his ex-mistress.

He did so after years of cynically exploiting the system; years of having children so as to claim yet more benefit; years of rampant dishonesty; years of treating the women in his life as objects of pleasure and the resulting children as a means to an end of more money for beer and cannabis.

Do you think that Philpott would have done this crime if he had worked regularly for the past 20 years and provided for those six children out of his own pocket?

It is a difficult matter to prove, but I know what I think.


Group sex on a snooker table, dogging and a girlfriend who shared his marital home: The sordid sex life of 'manipulative' Mick Philpott and his wife Mairead

  • Mick slept with wife and live-in lover Lisa Willis, 28, on alternate nights

  • Couple had threesome with friend Paul Mosley on family's snooker table on night children died

  • Mairead later performed sex act on Mosley in hotel room while husband watched

  • Couple regularly went dogging - having sex with strangers while others watch

  • Mairead fell pregnant to an unknown man and had an abortion

  • Mick said he had not showered for 12 weeks before the fatal fire

By Steve Robson -

April 2, 2013

Mick Philpott was said to be someone it was difficult 'not to take an instant dislike to' and throughout his eight-week trial the jury heard details of his sordid sex life including threesomes, a live-in wife and lover and frequent dogging sessions.

The latter even led to his wife Mairead Philpott falling pregnant to an unknown man and having an abortion.

Among the other depraved acts revealed to the court were the fact that the couple had a threesome with best friend Paul Mosley over the family snooker table hours before the children died.

They had three or four further sexual encounters together and smoked cannabis frequently.

In the days following the fatal fire, it also emerged that Mairead, 31, performed a sex act on Paul Mosley inside a bugged hotel room while her husband Mick watched.

Afterwards he praised his wife acknowledging that she did not want to perform the act.

Prosecutor Richard Latham told the jury they ‘may conclude’ the sexual favour was carried out to keep Mosley ‘onside’.

Mosley himself later told police: ‘The only thing I did wrong that night was bang Mairead over the snooker table.'

Mick Philpott - a sham, controlling, manipulative, abusive, aggressive, domineering - were all words used to describe him during his trial.

The 56-year-old preyed on young and damaged women from troubled backgrounds, who had few family or friends around for support.

Jurors heard how in the early stages of his relationships he would charm the women, who were usually decades his junior, and appear to them as a protector and saviour.

It was only when they had set up home with him that they realised the extent of the control and violence he was willing to unleash to keep them.

Irish Mairead Philpott, who was connected to the travelling community, was a 19-year-old single mother who was at 'rock bottom' when they met.

When Philpott came into her life, he seemed to offer the prospect of happiness and stability.

'He was my guardian angel,' she said. 'He loved me and cared for me and made me feel safe.'

Little did she know the control he would come to exert over her, and the sordid acts in which she would be persuaded to participate.

Mairead had previously had sex with other men while her husband watched, and had been doggingwith him - having sex with strangers while others looked on.

In one such incident she became pregnant by another man and eventually had a termination.

Her explanation for such behaviour, the court heard, was to make Philpott happy, while she was left feeling disgusting and ashamed.

Mick Philpott treated the women in his life as possessions, wanted to play the system for maximum financial benefit, argued his case by using his fists, and was said to have joked about wanting enough children to make up the numbers for his own football team.

A leading police officer in the investigation into the fire that killed six of Philpott's children said it was 'difficult not to take an instant dislike to him'.

Philpott's own barrister, Anthony Orchard QC, described him in court as being portrayed as a 'benefits scrounger' following his television appearances in 2006 and 2007 on The Jeremy Kyle Show and a documentary made by MP Ann Widdecombe.

'Michael Philpott is a man who raises in people quite a lot of emotion. People either love him or hate him,' Mr Orchard said.

'He could be arrogant. He could be a bit of a loud mouth. He would shout his business to anyone who would listen. He could rub people up the wrong way.

'There are some people who like him but many who do not.'

He was fixated on money - jurors heard during his trial that one of the many possible reasons for setting fire to the house might have been because he wanted all of his children in one place so he would get the most benefits payments.

Previous partners claimed he often said his desire was to not work and to stay at home and look after his children.

A decision was made that any money left over from donations by the public following the children's deaths, after funeral expenses had been paid and headstones bought, would be given to family in the form of Argos vouchers, prosecutors said - a fact disputed by defence teams.

It was rare that the wages earned by the women in his life would go into their own pockets. Most had their salary paid into a bank account controlled by Philpott.

The details of his sex life were like something out a low-budget film with descriptions of how his wife Mairead and Miss Willis took it in turns to sleep with him, how he went dogging with his wife, and how he persuaded her to have sex with other men in front of him.

All this from a man who admitted he did not bathe regularly. He told the court he had not used the shower or bath in his home for around three months before the blaze last May, and rarely changed his clothes.

His fake collapses and his overreaction to any kind of drama or event that was out of his control testified to the fact that he was a man who behaved in the most extreme way if he could not get his own way.

Prosecutor James House aptly summed it up in describing Philpott's character.

'He is a person who controls, who manipulates, and when that does not work he resorts to threats and then to violence,' he said.

'They are actions a sensible and reasonable person would not undertake but he has done when he believes things are going against him.'

The couple, especially Mick Philpott, have become notorious over the years for their 'unconventional' family, but many thought it was a loving household where such a heinous act was not even imaginable.

Appearances on the Jeremy Kyle Show, a frequent and forthright presence on social networking sites and comments to newspapers about living with wife Mairead as well as girlfriend Lisa Willis led to conjecture and speculation about how Mick Philpott managed to live in such a way.

Although many people could not understand why the women in his life accepted their lot or even desired it, general opinion was that Mrs Philpott and Miss Willis got on well with one another.

It is believed that just weeks before the fatal blaze, the relationship between Miss Willis and Mick Philpott was over and they had become locked in a custody battle over the five children they had together.

Philpott said he could understand why people were shocked at the way his family lived, especially when he revealed intimate details of the dynamics involved, such as how he would spend a few nights in his caravan and one night would be spent with Mrs Philpott and the next with Miss Willis, but said he could not understand why people felt disgust.

Appearing on The Jeremy Kyle Show, Philpott claimed he was prepared to divorce his wife, marry Miss Willis, and then divorce her simply so that she would not feel left out because she did not share the Philpott family name.

This untraditional lifestyle also led to Philpott being dubbed 'Shameless Mick' in 2007 for his benefit claims and refusal to get a job in a documentary by former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe.

He originally hit the headlines the year before, in 2006, when he demanded Derby City Council rehouse him and his large family because the four-bed house they had been allocated was too small.

At the time, Miss Willis was expecting his 15th child and Philpott claimed that when two of his other children visited, he and his wife had to sleep in a tent in the back garden.

During his television appearance, Philpott also told show host Kyle that he was 'very, very defensive' when it came to his family.

Reacting to perceived criticisms people made of his life, he said: 'Do they know me as a family, do they know my kids? I don't think so.

'Anybody who wants to see me, my other partner and my kids - they can come and stop with me for a week and I guarantee after a week they'll be amazed, especially at the way my children behave.

'My children are brought up properly.'

During a press conference he and Mairead gave five days after the children's deaths, the distraught couple repeatedly wiped away tears and thanked the public and emergency services personnel who had tried to help the children.

Philpott told reporters: 'We can't express our gratitude enough. It's not just us that have suffered, it's them as well - it's everybody.'

He also revealed Duwayne's organs had been donated to save the life of another child.

In the aftermath of the six children's deaths, feeling on the Allenton estate where the family lived was one of unity and support for the Philpotts.

Many people who knew and socialised with Mick Philpott and his family - said to have included 17 of his biological children before the tragic fire - defended his lifestyle, saying negative representations of the area and the man did not live up to the reality.

One local, Bobby Sutherland, was inspired to set up a charity to help pay for the funerals of the six children, whom he said Mick Philpott loved desperately.

Fighting back tears as he stood in the street outside the fire-ravaged family home, he said at the time: 'Yeah, they can slag him off, but he loved his kids. Who doesn't make a mistake?

'Yeah, you make mistakes but you don't deserve that. Nobody deserves that. You know what I mean?'



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