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Five children die in suspicious UK house fire

Date
Tributes are left near the scene of a house in which  five children died in Derby.

Tributes are left near the scene of a house in which five children died in Derby. Photo: Reuters

Two people are being questioned on suspicion of murder in connection with the deaths of five children in a house fire, British police said.

A 38-year-old man from Derby was arrested this afternoon by detectives investigating the deaths of 10-year-old Jade Philpott, and her siblings John, nine, Jack, seven, Jessie, six, and five-year-old Jayden.

Earlier today Derbyshire Police said a 28-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of murder. She remains in police custody for questioning.

Police at the scene of the fire-damaged house.

Police at the scene of the fire-damaged house. Photo: AFP

The children died after a fire broke out at their home in Allenton, Derby, in the early hours.

Their 13-year-old brother, Duwayne, who was also in the semi-detached property at the time of the blaze, remains in a critical condition in hospital in Birmingham.

The children's father has been named locally as Mick Philpott, who was dubbed Shameless Mick in 2007 for his benefit claims and refusal to get a job in a documentary by former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe.

Mr Philpott, said to be the father of 17 children, hit the headlines after demanding a larger house to share with his wife, girlfriend and eight offspring.

Mr Philpott and Duwayne's mother are believed to be at the teenager's bedside in hospital.

Post-mortem examinations will be carried out over the weekend and forensic specialists are examining the house.

Ms Widdecombe, who spent a week living with the then 57-year-old Philpott for the program Ann Widdecombe Versus The Benefit Culture, said following the tragedy: "Nobody would ever call him a bad father. I'm so sorry to hear the news and my thoughts are with the family."

Mr Philpott is reported to have demanded the bigger property because his council house was too cramped to accommodate the family. He wanted the city council to rehouse them, but the authority said they already had the biggest available council property in the city.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cotterill, from Derbyshire Police, said: "There appears to have been valiant attempts by the father to rescue his children."

He said two adults in the pebble-dashed home in Victory Road, whom he did not name, escaped the fire without serious injury after being alerted by a smoke detector.

PA

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