4 Apr 2013

Mick Philpott jailed for life

Mick Philpott is sentenced to life in prison for the manslaughter of six of his children in a house fire, while his wife Mairead and friend Paul Mosley are both given a 17 year sentence.

The couple started the fire at their Derby home in May last year in a failed plot to frame Lisa Willis, Mick Philpott‘s former girlfriend.

As she handed him his sentence, Mrs Justice Thirwall said Philpott was a “distrubingly dangerous man” with “no moral compass”.

He will serve a minimum term of 15 years. His wife Mairead was sentenced to 17 yearsof which she will serve at least half. Their friend Paul Mosley was also given 17 years for his part in the arson attack.

The judge said she had no doubt Philpott was the “driving force behind this shockingly dangerous enterprise”, adding: “Your guiding principle is what Mick Philpott wants, Mick Philpott gets.”

The judge said the plot to set fire to the house and rescue the children was “a wicked and dangerous plan”, adding it was “outside the comprehension of any right-thinking person”.

‘Die Mick, die’

Philpott looked down at the floor, wiping tears from his eyes as the judge gave him the maximum sentence.

Mairead Philpott wept as she was jailed, having broken down earlier as the judge ran through her husband’s history of past convictions and violent manipulation. The judge said he was “sometimes charming, always domineering, always controlling”.

Mosley showed no reaction, sitting motionless and looking over at the public gallery. From the gallery family members applauded as the judge finished her sentencing. One shouted: “Die Mick, die”. In response, Philpott made an obscene gesture as he was led from the dock.

Dawn Bestwick, Philpott’s sister, told reporters waiting outside court that justice had been done for the children. “Victory to them,” she said. “They’ve gone down. That’s it.”

She added that the six youngsters could now “rest in peace”.

Mosley’s brother-in-law Andy Lyons said: “We don’t have an eye for an eye. We’re not a Third World country but the sentence is the best that the judge can give and makes England the greatest nation in the world.”

‘Kingpin’ Mick

The judge told Mairead Philpott that she believed her grief was real. She said: “I accept you feel their loss profoundly. Your children were your route to fulfilment.

“You loved them and you cared for them.” However, she added: “You put Michael Philpott above your children and, as a result, they have died.”

Philpott’s violent past was revealed in court yesterday, as it emerged that he was on bail for a violent road rage attack at the time of the fire. He had admitted common assault after punching another motorist in the face and was awaiting trial.

In 1991, he was handed a two-year conditional discharge for headbutting a colleague, and in 2010 received a police caution after slapping Mairead and dragging her by her hair.

He was also sentenced to seven years in prison in 1978 for repeatedly stabbing his then girlfriend, Kim Hill. During sentencing on Thursday the judge said Philpott used that conviction to terrify other women, adding: “You have repeatedly used that conviction as a means of controlling other women, terrified as to what you would do to them.”

Philpott treated women as his “chattels”, the judge told him, adding: “You barked orders and they would obey. You were the kingpin, No-one else mattered.”

She said he had become “obsessed” with Miss Willis. “You could not stand the fact that she had crossed you. You were determined to make sure she came back and you began to put together your plan,” the judge added.

Sentencing had been expected yesterday, but was adjourned as Mrs Thirwall needed more time to consider the “unique case” – six counts of manslaughter represetning six lives lost.

‘Very good father’

Anthony Orchard QC, mitigating for Mick Philpott, said yesterday at Nottingham crown court: “Despite Mr Philpott’s faults, he was a very good father and loved those children. All the witnesses, even Lisa Willis, agree on this.

'We never thought they'd harm the children' - an interview with the Philpott's priest

Mick Philpott had been embroiled in a custody battle with Miss Willis, who had lived with the couple at the house.

“There’s no evidence at any stage that he deliberately harmed any of them,” Mr Orchard said.

Mr Orchard said Philpott had never been able to grieve for his children and “will have to live with the hatred and hostility of the press and the public for the rest of his life”.

Shaun Smith, representing Mairead Philpott, said Mick Philpott had been “the dominant person in that relationship”, and she had done “whatever he said, whatever he wanted”.

Read more: Mick Philpott - appalling criminal or benefits cheat?

The court had heard that Mairead Philpott and Miss Willis lived happily with one another for a decade, but Miss Willis left Mick Philpott three months before the fire, taking her five children with her, four of whom had been fathered by him.


On Tuesday, after an eight-week trial, the pair were convicted of manslaughter, along with their friend Paul Mosley.

Jade Philpott, 10, and her brothers John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, Jayden, five, and Duwayne, 13 all died as a result of the fire at their three-bedroom council house.

Before leaving the dock, Mick Philpott crossed himself and was heard to say: “It’s not over yet.”

Failed plot

The Philpotts and Mosley had planned to get all six children into one bedroom at the back of the house so Mick Philpott could play the hero and rescue them with a ladder outside the building.

He had previously told police that Miss Willis was harassing him and had threatened the family. He hoped this would pave the way for her to take the blame for the fire.

But the fire was far bigger than the Philpotts and Mosley had expected, and when Philpott climbed up the ladder at the back of the house he was unable to smash a large enough hole in the bedroom window to rescue the children.

The intense heat and thick black smoke also stopped him getting to them.

Bigger house

Part of Philpott’s motive might also have been to get a bigger council house, prosecutors said.

Before the incident, he and his family had become known to television viewers after appearing on the Jeremy Kyle Show and a documentary with former government minister Ann Widdecombe.

Though the perpetrator of an extraordinary crime, in recent days it is Philpott’s unorthodox lifestyle has become the focus of fierce debate, with some using him as an illustration of what has gone wrong with the benefits system.