Bugged police vehicle heard Mick and Mairead Philpott talking about 'sticking to the story'
POLICE had undercover listening devices monitoring Mick and Mairead Philpott following the deaths of their children in the Victory Road fire, the court heard
The prosecution claim covert recording devices heard them whispering to each other that they would "stick to the story".
The revelations were made on the second day of the trial of the pair and Paul Mosley, who all deny the manslaughter of the six Philpott children.
The court was told that further undercover recordings, taken in a police car while the Philpott couple were together before their first court appearance on May 30, heard Philpott say to his wife, "Are you sticking to the story? Are you sure this is what you want?" to which she replied "yes".
Richard Latham QC spent yesterday outlining the case for the prosecution for the trial, which is expected to last at least six weeks.
He said after the fire and the deaths of the children, the Philpotts were put up at the Premier Inn in Uttoxeter New Road, where police, under the permission of the country's Surveillance Commissioner, decided to bug the room they were staying in.
The Philpotts' children, John, Jack, Jessie, Jayden and Jade died shortly after the fire. Duwayne died three days later in hospital in Birmingham.
Mr Latham said: "By the time they returned to Derby following Duwayne's death in Birmingham, the behaviour of the Philpotts was a matter of concern for the police. An arrangement was made for audio recording equipment to be placed in the room.
"I should emphasise that covert recording of private behaviour is obviously an invasion of privacy and not something that the police just did on a whim.
"There is a very detailed statutory process and permission was granted by the Surveillance Commissioner.
"Between 7.35pm on May 15 and 10.06am on May 29, there was equipment listening in on the Philpotts.
"From time to time they lowered their voices to whispers, and on one occasion we say they can be heard saying, 'Do you realise this room could be bugged?'
"If the Philpotts appreciate that the room could be bugged, you may think that tells a great deal – that the two had something to do with it (the fire)?
"On one sequence of recordings they can be heard saying, 'Make sure you stick to the story'."
The court was told how on May 29, the Philpotts were arrested in connection with the deaths of their six children. Both were questioned a number of times before they were charged on May 30.
The following morning they were due to be taken to Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court for a first hearing.
Mr Latham said: "An arrangement was made whereby they would be collected in a police vehicle and an arrangement was made whereby they could be given some privacy.
"The covert recordings in the vehicle, between 8.55am and 9.13am, hears them whispering to each other.
"Mick says to her, 'Are you sticking to the story?' 'Yes," Mairead replies. 'Good', Mick says before saying, 'Don't worry babe, I won't (say anything) unless you want me to blab about it?'"
Mr Latham said during their police interviews Mairead told the police she took an overdose in an apparent suicide attempt after Lisa Willis walked out on them both in February.
He said: "Mairead tells the police, 'I took an overdose because Lisa took my kids'."
Mr Latham said, in the build-up to the fire, angry text and Facebook messages were exchanged between the Philpotts and Ms Willis's family.
He said Ms Willis's sister, Amanda Cousins, made threats to kill Philpott via text message, telling him to "leave Lisa alone".
Turning to the prosecution's case against Paul Mosley, Mr Latham said one witness saw the accused in Gala Bingo, in Sinfin, in the aftermath of the fire.
It is alleged by Mr Latham that Mosley was overheard talking to a man called Andy Faulkner. Mr Latham told the jury: "The witness says Mr Mosley said, 'Can I have a word with you, Andy, because I am going to turn myself in – I don't think it's right that Mick takes all the blame'."
Mr Latham said, in a police interview, Mosley told them he was at the Philpotts' house – 18 Victory Road – from 7.30pm the night before the fire until about 1.30am on the morning of the fire.
Mosley was arrested, released and later re-arrested following forensic examination of the petrol used in the fire. Petrol residue from a Total garage was found on his clothing, Mr Latham said.
He told police he filled up his car on May 7 but at a BP garage, so he did not know how Total petrol got on his clothes. In his police interview, there was a "blanket denial" from Mosley on having anything to do with petrol or a fire at Victory Road.
Mr Latham said: "He (Mosley) accepted he had a sexual relationship with Mairead which used to happen when Mick was present.
"On May 19, covert recordings heard sexual activity between Mr Mosley and Mairead (in the hotel room at the Premier Inn)."
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