Mick Philpott

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Michael Philpott
Born 1956 (age 60–61)
Criminal penalty Attempted murder/GBH:
7 years' imprisonment;
manslaughter:
life imprisonment
Criminal status Convicted (imprisoned)
Conviction(s) Attempted murder
Grievous bodily harm with intent
Assault occasioning actual bodily harm
Common assault
Manslaughter
Imprisoned at serving a minimum of 15 years at HM Prison Wakefield

Michael "Mick" Philpott (born 1956) is a British criminal who was found guilty of causing the deaths of six of his children by arson and was sentenced to life imprisonment for their manslaughter in April 2013. He had previously gained notoriety for his benefits-funded lifestyle and his polyamorous relationships.

Philpott featured in the media from 2006. This was a result of his large family (having 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 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.[1] He is serving a life sentence with a minimum of 15 years' imprisonment.[2] Philpott has been described by psychologist Glenn Wilson as clinically a "psychopath" and "exhibitionist" with "antisocial personality disorder."[3]

Biography before 2012[edit]

Relationships with women and habitual violence[edit]

Philpott's attitude to women has been described as "controlling", "domineering", "violent" and "manipulative."[4][5][6]

In July 1978, aged 21, while AWOL 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.[7]

He stabbed her mother when she came to her daughter's aid. Hill suffered collapsed lungs, and a punctured bladder, kidney and liver. Philpott was convicted of attempted murder of Hill, and grievous bodily harm with intent against her mother,[8] and was sentenced to seven years in prison in December 1978.[9] Philpott was released after three years and two months.[10]

Philpott married Pamela Lomax in 1986.[11] 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.

In 1991, Philpott was given a two-year conditional discharge for assault occasioning actual bodily harm for headbutting a colleague.[8] In 2000, Philpott met Mairead Duffy, a 19-year-old single mother born in England to an Irish family, who had left a previous volatile relationship.[12] She moved into Philpott's house shortly after, and the couple married in May 2003.[13]

In 2001, Philpott met Lisa Willis, a 16-year-old orphan and single mother. Willis was Philpott's mistress.[14][15][16] Philpott invited Willis to move into his council house, which was larger than hers, in 2002. Lisa Willis was bridesmaid at the wedding of Mick and Mairead. On 23 December 2002, having left Philpott, Kehoe gained legal custody of her two children.

2006–2007 media coverage[edit]

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.[17]

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, and added that he would have a vasectomy.[18]

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.[19] 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.[18] 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.[20]

Later incidents[edit]

It was revealed during his manslaughter trial that Mairead became pregnant to another man whilst the couple were dogging, an activity in which they began to participate during 2011. Philpott instructed Mairead to have an abortion, which she did.[21] In 2010 he was given a police caution for slapping his wife and dragging her outside by her hair.[22][23]

A court hearing a week before the fire concerned a road rage incident during November 2011 in which he had punched another driver,[23] for which Philpott had pleaded guilty to common assault,[22] but denied dangerous driving.[23] At the hearing Philpott was bailed and was awaiting trial.[8][24]

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.

Arson and deaths at Philpott's home in 2012[edit]

Fire[edit]

On 11 May 2012, the family's home at 18 Victory Road, Allenton, Derby, was seriously damaged by fire at around 4am.[25] 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 two days later. All of these deaths were caused by excessive smoke inhalation. [26]

In the days following the fire, the family's local Catholic church held memorial services.[27] On 16 May, Philpott and his wife held an emotional news conference, in which they purported to describe the events concerning the fire.[28]

A charity, Catch Me When I Fall, was set up by local residents to help the family of the children.[29] A book of condolence at Derby Cathedral was later signed by hundreds of people.[30] A fund to pay for the funerals raised over £11,000 by members of the public living in the same area as the Philpotts.[31] The children's joint funeral took place on 22 June 2012 at St Mary's Church, Derby.

Criminal investigation[edit]

On 14 May, police stated that petrol had been found inside the letterbox, thus sparking a murder investigation.[32][33]

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,[34] and appeared to like the attention.[35] 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.[36]

Philpott and his wife were arrested on suspicion of murder on 28 May 2012.[37] After seeking additional time for questioning, the couple were charged with murder on 30 May 2012.[38] 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.[39]

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.[40] 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. They had however wanted to frame Willis for the fire and win back custody of the children and continue to claim benefits for them. [41]

Trial and sentencing[edit]

The trial commenced Nottingham Crown Court 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.[42] On 2 April, Mick and Mairead, along with Paul Mosley, were each found guilty of the manslaughter of the six children.[43]

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 previous 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).[1][44]

On 29 November 2013 an appeal by Mairead Philpott against the length of her sentence (not the actual verdict) was heard. The grounds of the appeal were mainly that Mairead was under the control of her husband and could not exercise a free choice in her conduct; the appeal was dismissed.[45]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Fire Deaths: Philpotts And Friend Jailed". News.sky.com. 11 May 2012. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  2. ^ "BBC News - Derby fire deaths: Philpotts and Mosley jailed". Bbc.co.uk. 4 April 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  3. ^ "Psychologist: Mick Philpott is a 'psychopath'". ITV News. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  4. ^ Garner, Simon. "Mick Philpott guilty: A controlling, manipulative and domineering man". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  5. ^ Laville, Sandra (2 April 2013). "Mick Philpott: the violent control freak who treated women as his slaves". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  6. ^ Lowbridge, Caroline (2 April 2013). "Philpott fire deaths: Fear and control at Victory Road". BBC News. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  7. ^ Hare, Simon (2 April 2013). "Derby fire deaths: Mick Philpott 'no right-minded father'". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c "Philpott sentencing". Bbc.co.uk. 3 April 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  9. ^ Sandra Laville, crime correspondent (23 December 2002). "Mick Philpott: the violent control freak who treated women as his slaves". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  10. ^ Alan White "Was this tragedy really a "vile product" of Welfare UK?", New Statesman, 3 April 2013
  11. ^ Lowbridge, Caroline (2 April 2013). "BBC News - Philpott fire deaths: Fear and control at Victory Road". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  12. ^ Naylor, Martin (14 March 2013). "The latest on the Philpott trial following the deaths of six children in a house fire in Victory Road Derby last May". This is Derbyshire. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  13. ^ Walsh, Aly (19 March 2013). "Mairead Philpott tells court that Philpott was her guardian angel". This is Derbyshire. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  14. ^ "Derby fire deaths: Mick Philpott 'said former mistress was evil'". BBC News. 
  15. ^ "Philpott trial day 3: Mick Philpott's ex-mistress admits to sexual relationship with his eldest son". Derby Telegraph. 
  16. ^ Paul Cockerton (2 April 2013). "Mick Philpott profile: Evil dad who never washed, enjoyed dogging and slept with wife Mairead and mistress Lisa Willis on alternate night - Mirror Online". The Mirror. 
  17. ^ Britten, Nick (16 November 2006). "Jobless and shameless". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 20 June 2012. 
  18. ^ a b "With 18 [sic] children to his name and his demands for a bigger council house to fit his growing family in, Mick Philpott is a man who has felt the strength of public opinion.". This is Derbyshire. 13 May 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012. 
  19. ^ Nancy Bank-Smith "Last night's TV: The Secret Life of the Motorway", The Guardian, 23 August 2007
  20. ^ This Morning, 3 April 2013.
  21. ^ Naylor, Martin (18 March 2013). "Mairead Philpott takes the stand in Derby fire manslaughter trial". This is Derbyshire. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  22. ^ a b "Fire deaths: Philpott sentencing postponed", Channel 4 News, 3 April 2013
  23. ^ a b c "Mick Philpott faced road rage charge for punching motorist", telegraph.co.uk, 3 April 2013
  24. ^ Dave Higgins "Revealed: Mick Philpott faced road rage charge", The Independent, 3 April 2013
  25. ^ "Derby fire deaths: Man and woman being questioned". BBC News. 11 May 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  26. ^ "Derby fire deaths: Sixth child dies after house blaze". BBC News. 14 May 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  27. ^ "Father Burbidge, priest at St George's Roman Catholic Church, in Village Street, said Philpott and his family had been members of the congregation". This is Derbyshire. 12 May 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012. 
  28. ^ Britten, Nick (29 May 2012). "Derby fire: parents arrested after weeks of police surveillance". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  29. ^ "Derby fire deaths: Police release arrested pair". BBC News. 12 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-30. 
  30. ^ "Allenton fire: Philpott condolence book in Derby signed by "hundreds"". BBC News. 28 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-30. 
  31. ^ "Hundreds touched by Philpott tragedy take part in fund-raisers across the city". This is Derbyshire. 28 May 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012. 
  32. ^ "Derby family fire deaths: Police confirm arson". Bbc.co.uk. 14 May 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012. 
  33. ^ "Derby fire deaths: House blaze 'started with petrol'". BBC News. 16 May 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  34. ^ Ben Quinn "Philpott relatives recount bizarre behaviour in aftermath of house fire", guardian.co.uk, 3 April 2013
  35. ^ Jonathan Brown "Philpott fire trial: Guilty of manslaughter, but circumstances of the blaze remain largely unknown", The Independent, 2 April 2013
  36. ^ Sandra Laville and Vikram Dodd "Mick and Mairead Philpott convicted of manslaughter over Derby house fire", guardian.co.uk, 2 April 2013
  37. ^ Helen Carter (29 May 2012). "Parents arrested over Derby house fire that killed six children". London: Guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 20 June 2012. 
  38. ^ "Derby fire deaths: Mick and Mairead Philpott charged". Bbc.co.uk. 31 May 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012. 
  39. ^ "Derby fire deaths: How police uncovered Mick Philpott's lies", BBC News, 4 April 2013
  40. ^ "Philpott children fire deaths: Paul Mosley faces murder charges". BBC News. 6 November 2012. Retrieved 6 November 2012. 
  41. ^ "Derby fire deaths: Mick and Mairead Philpott murder charges dropped". BBC News. 17 December 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  42. ^ Naylor, Martin (12 February 2013). "Philpott trial day 2: Court hears how police bugged Philpotts' hotel room after fire". Thisisderbyshire.co.uk. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  43. ^ "Derby fire deaths: Three guilty of Philpott children's deaths". BBC News. 2 April 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  44. ^ Rob Williams "Disturbingly dangerous... no moral compass... the driving force. Judge hands Michael Philpott a life sentence", The Independent, 4 April 2013
  45. ^ http://news.sky.com/story/1175442/mairead-philpotts-appeal-refused-by-judge Mairead Philpott's Appeal Refused By Judge