On 10 March 2012, the police are called to a confrontation between Philpott and Lisa. She still refuses to return to him.
It’s becoming obvious to Philpott that his usual combination of sweet talk, threats and bullying will not win this woman back.
He tells Mairead of his plan to win back Lisa. They will start a fire in their home, blame Lisa, win custody of her children, and then Lisa will have to return. For the plan to work, Mairead must risk the lives of her children, and this will be in order for Philpott to win back his mistress.
She will do anything to maintain her marriage.
However, for Philpott, Mairead is utterly ‘expendable’.
Philpott includes his best mate, Paul Mosley, in the plan. Paul had been convicted of robbery as a teenager, but has not been in trouble with the police since.
Philpott starts mentioning to friends and acquaintances that Lisa has threatened to set fire to the family home. When he posts on Facebook the accusation that her brother in law fathered her eldest, Lisa reacts. She phones Mick and he alleges she threatens him.
Philpott is delighted. He immediately rings the police and demands her arrest.
He’s furious when they refuse.
He repeatedly tries to draw the police into his plan. He repeatedly fails.
But a court hearing is set for 11 May to determine the children’s arrangements. Most think Philpott hasn’t a chance of winning custody.
But he says he’s not bothered. He has his plan.
THE HERO OF THE HOUR
His plan will later be described as ‘outside the comprehension of any right thinking person.’ He intends to start the fire the night before the court hearing. He wants the court to hear how in the moment of crisis, as the flames licked around the base of the house, he, Michael Philpott had stepped up, using a ladder, to rescue his trapped and screaming children.
The court would surely have no choice but to award custody to the heroic fire-fighting and child saving Mick. And surely the police would now arrest the arsonist and child endangering Lisa.
And then, when it was all over, and Lisa was released, she would come back to her Mick. And they would all once again be a big, big happy family.
It would have been miraculous if any part of this plan had actually worked.
At 3:30am on 11 May 2012, at 18 Victory Road, Derby, there would be no miracles.