“Any mother...would recoil in horror at the idea of lighting a fire beneath where your children are sleeping. I have never come across such selfish disregard for their children...Mairead doesn’t protect her children, in fact, she actually puts them in harm. And that’s unforgivable.”
Dr Keri Nixon, Forensic Psychologist
It’s 10 May 2012.
Mick and Mairead Philpott put their six children to bed.
At 13, Duwayne is the eldest and is the ‘protector’ of his siblings.
Ten-year-old Jade is the ‘mother hen’ of her younger brothers. They are nine-year-old John, eight-year-old Jack, six-year-old Jesse and the youngest, Jayden, is five.
“Imagining them being put to bed that evening, they’re kissing their mum and dad goodnight, they are talking to each other, being like children, you know, excited little boys and girls, in bed. And Philpott and Mairead are doing that knowing what they are about to do.”
Emma Kenny, Psychologist
They then invite over Paul Moseley. All three start drinking heavily. Mairead gets stoned. She then has a threesome with Philpott and Moseley on the snooker table.
At around 3am, they pour petrol on the floor. Paul Mosley removes the petrol containers so there’ll be no incriminating evidence.
At 3:30am Mick sets the petrol alight. He starts the fire in the hallway at the bottom of the stairs.
He’s now cut off the children’s escape route.
They exit and as the fire takes hold, they move to a neighbour’s garden. Mairead then rings the emergency services.
OPERATOR: What’s your name duck?
MAIRHEAD: Mrs Philpott
OPERATOR: How many kids are in the house Mrs Philpott?
MAIRHEAD: There’s six of them.
Mick Philpott joins in the conversation:
OPERATOR: Michael, can you see any flames?
PHILPOTT: Nah, all I can see is black smoke. I can’t see anything else than black
OPERATOR: ...Have you any idea what caused the fire?
PHILPOTT: I’ve no idea mate. We’ve just been woke up by the alarm.
Philpott starts to tell neighbours he thinks Lisa started the fire. Frantic neighbours are struck by his behaviour.
“There was no emotion out of none of them. If he would have grabbed hold of me and said ‘Please, come on, let’s get in there. My kids are in there!’ I know that would have been a true man as a father.”
Jamie Butler, neighbour
Jamie tries to get into the back bedroom. It’s impossible.
Sickeningly quickly, all realise the smoke and flames are impenetrable.
The children are trapped inside inhaling poisonous fumes.
Fire fighters arrive. Professionally they’re experienced enough to know the children are lost. Personally, each one battles to save them.
A small mercy is that the autopsies will later show the children’s deaths are ‘swift and, it would seem, without pain.’
When it is possible, the first body is brought out. It is ten-year-old Jade. The last is thirteen-year-old Duwayne.
“...you just knew as soon as you see them come out, their little souls were gone.”
Darren Butler, Neighbour
Philpott asks his friends Sharon and Mick Russell to accompany him to the mortuary.
Philpott looks at his dead children and shows no emotion. Bizarrely, when Mick starts to break down in tears, it’s Philpott that tries to console him:
“...he was comforting me. I was sitting there crying my head off and he was comforting me. You know, I am supposed to be the one comforting him.”
But not all of Philpott’s children are dead. Duwayne is on life support. So they go to see him. Despite the life and death situation, Philpott and Mairead wonder off and leave their dying son several times. On one occasion, Mick Russell is appalled by what occupies Philpott’s attention:
“All of a sudden I heard him shout, ‘Mick!’ And I turned round and I said ‘What?’ And he’s grabbing this girls arse and saying, “This is what I like.’ I said, ‘You got a lad in there dying mate and five of your kids are dead. Is that what you’re still thinking about?”