Philpott's chilling 999 call
Listen to Mick Philpott's chilling 999 call to the UK emergency services as his house with six children in it burns. WARNING: AUDIO MAY DISTRESS SOME LISTENERS.PT0M0S 620 349
Seemingly overwhelmed by grief during an appeal for information about the killer of six of his children, Mick Philpott buried his face in a tissue and wept.
His dramatic performance earned him the sympathy of his family, friends and people across the country he had never met. But his crocodile tears did not fool the police.
Minutes before appearing before cameras to appeal for information, he appeared to Mr Cotterill to be acting ‘‘like an excited child’’.
Derbyshire’s Assistant Chief Constable, Steve Cotterill, watched unmoved and increasingly convinced that his man was sitting right in front of him.
Guilty: Mick Philpott and wife Mairead. Photo: AP
On Tuesday his suspicions were vindicated as Philpott, his wife, Mairead, and his best friend, Paul Mosley, were convicted of killing the children by setting the house in Derby alight.
Philpott, 56, became the prime suspect in the aftermath of the fire, and police took the unusual step of bugging his home to gain the evidence they needed to convict him. Detectives fitted the hotel room in which he was being housed with listening devices, and heard him ask his wife in a low voice whether she had stuck to the story in her interview with the police on May 11 last year. The pair were due in court the following day.
Philpott started the fire by pouring petrol in his hallway and igniting it, in an effort to frame his former girlfriend, Lisa Willis, who had also lived in the house, and win back custody of their five children. He may have also been motivated by a desire for a bigger house.
Deadly fire: Six children were killed in the blaze. Photo: AFP
But the plan for a small fire went disastrously wrong and the blaze engulfed the house and claimed the lives of his children who were in bed. Temperatures hit 900F and smoke filled the small end-terrace home.
Jade 10, and her brothers Duwayne, 13, John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, and Jayden, five, were overcome within minutes.
Using the secret microphones, police officers heard the pair attempting to concoct a plot to put the blame for the blaze on Miss Willis, 29, who had walked out on Philpott three months earlier, taking their children with her.
Tragedy: Coffins bearing the bodies of six children who died in a house fire are carried into St Mary's Church in Derby. Photo: AFP
Their idea was to portray Philpott as the would-be hero who attempted to rescue his children but who was tragically beaten back by the flames.
However, police were suspicious because of Philpott’s erratic behaviour. Minutes before appearing before cameras to appeal for information, he appeared to Mr Cotterill to be acting ‘‘like an excited child’’. Afterwards he lay face down on the corridor floor in ‘‘a childish performance and a plan to make him look like someone who was distraught and unable to stand’’.
Moments later, Philpott joked to female police officers he would marry them, and later propositioned another officer to go back to his hotel room.
Marie Smith, the manager of the Royal Derby Hospital morgue, where the children’s bodies were taken, said Philpott had pretended to faint, referred to his dead children as ‘‘little -----’’ and held a police officer in a headlock during ‘‘horseplay’’.
Philpott, when asked whether he would like some water, asked her if she could put some gin in it, and described another visit by the couple as ‘‘a circus’’.
Police also linked Philpott to the crime with forensic evidence after finding petrol of their clothes. Philpott has never accepted responsibility for his actions and shouted ‘‘It’s not over yet’’ as he was convicted at Nottingham Crown Court. Mairead, 31, cried as her sister screamed abuse from the public gallery while Mosley, 46, sat staring ahead. All three were found guilty of manslaughter and will be sentenced today.
Dawn Bestwick, Philpott’s sister, said that ‘‘justice has been done’’, a sentiment echoed by his wife’s family.
Detectives believe that Mosley’s part in the plot was to spill the petrol in the hallway or dispose of the cannister, which has never been found. He was found with the petrol used in the fire on his clothes.
Philpott, who had 17 children in total, lived off the £2000 ($2890) a month state benefits of his wife and Miss Willis, as well as their wages, which he insisted be paid into his bank account.
He lived a tawdry lifestyle involving drugs, and would have his wife in his bed one night and his mistress the next. Philpott and his wife would also have threesomes with Mosley and previous girlfriends spoke of how he would turn violent. He thrived on the nickname of ‘‘Shameless Mick’’ he gained when complaining to Derby council that he, his wife, his mistress and their 11 children needed a bigger house.
The bizarre living arrangement earned Philpott a place on the Jeremy Kyle Show and in a documentary with Ann Widdecombe.
Philpott also became fixated on public donations raised to pay for his children’s funerals, and saw the cash as a way of ‘‘getting rich quick’’, prosecutors claimed. More than £15,000 was given to a trust fund for their funerals, and the several hundred pounds left over was donated to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
But in a legal hearing before the trial, it was claimed that Philpott demanded the money be given to the family in Argos vouchers.
Daily Telegraph, London