16 May 2012

Derby fire death father donates son’s organs

The father of six children who died in a house fire in Derby thanks members of the emergency services and says he will donate one of his son’s organs to save another child’s life.

Mick Philpott sobbed throughout a news conference saying that he had been “overwhelmed” by the support his family has received.

Jade Philpott, 10, and brothers John, nine, Jack, seven, Jessie, six, and Jayden, five, died in the house fire last week.

Thirteen-year-old son Duwayne died of the effects of smoke inhalation in Birmingham Children’s Hospital with his parents at his bedside.

Mick Philpott said the family had decided to donate Duwayne’s organs “to save another child to take a bit of the pain away”.

He repeatedly thanked the emergency services and others who tried to save his children.

“I’ve been down to our home and what we saw we just could not believe it – we grew up in a community which has had a lot of problems with violence and to see this community come together like they have is just too overwhelming.”

Mr Philpott then made an impassioned plea for the media to leave his family alone so they can grieve in peace.

During the news conference, the Assistant Chief Constable of Derbyshire Police, Steve Cotterill, confirmed that the seat of the fire was below the letterbox in the front door of the house.

Investigations had also shown petrol was used as an accelerant, the officer said.

No suspects in custody

The six children were asleep upstairs when the fire engulfed the semi-detached house in the early hours of the morning. Mr Philpott, aged 54, made a “valiant” effort to save them, police said earlier.

A 28-year-old woman and 38-year-old man, both from Derby, were arrested and released by officers investigating the deaths.

St George’s Roman Catholic Church held a service for the local community to offer their prayers in memory of the children and their parents.

The church is affiliated with the children’s school, St George’s Catholic Primary School, and is attended by the children’s father.

Father Alan Burbidge, of the church, said that he had visited the school and has “never before in [his] life had to deal with anything on this scale”.