Parents of six Derby fire victims arrested
THE PARENTS of six children killed in an arson attack on their home have been arrested on suspicion of murder.
Mick Philpott (55) and his wife Mairead (31) were arrested in Derby city centre in connection with the blaze at the house on May 11th.
Their children – Jade (10), John (9), Jack (7), Jessie (6) and Jayden (5) all died in the fire. Their brother Duwayne (13) died of his injuries in Birmingham Children’s Hospital two days later.
Petrol was used to start the blaze at the house in Victory Road, Allenton, Derby, police have revealed.
Derbyshire Police said a 55-year-old man and a 31-year-old woman from Derby were arrested together but did not name them.
Five days after the fire, Mr and Ms Philpott faced the media in an emotional press conference.
Mr Philpott thanked those who tried to rescue his children and spoke of how he and his wife had decided to donate Duwayne’s organs for transplant, saying it “takes a bit of the pain away”.
Mr Philpott, who is believed to have fathered 17 children, was said by police to have made “valiant” efforts to rescue his children during the blaze.
Dubbed “Shameless Mick” in 2007 after demanding a larger council house, he is well known in the local community because of media reports about his large family. He has also appeared in a reality TV show alongside former British minister Ann Widdecombe.
This morning a mobile police office van was parked outside the Philpotts’s semi-detached house and an officer stood guard outside the taped-off property, where numerous floral tributes still lay.
Announcing the arrests today, Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cotterill urged anyone with “crucial information” to come forward.
“I suspect there may still be people with crucial information who have not yet come forward to speak to us.
“In view of the arrests, I would urge anyone who may have been holding back, not felt comfortable to voice their concerns or not had the confidence, to do so now. They have my personal reassurance that we will deal with their information sensitively.
“We still need information to help us in this inquiry. The latest arrests are just one step further in the investigation.
“It is absolutely vital that if you know anything you think could help us, come forward now, do not wait any longer. It is important that we find justice for these six young children.”
Assistant Chief Constable Cotterill added: “Although the fire happened more than two weeks ago, this is a complex inquiry and it will take time for us to piece together the events from that tragic evening.
“I know this case has deeply affected the local community and residents want answers as to what happened and why, but I would ask them to be patient and to continue to show the excellent support they have given us to date.”
The force said it was increasing its presence on Victory Road and forensic examinations were continuing at the house. – (PA)