Mairead and Mick Philpott's ex-mistress Lisa Willis were 'best friends' and great mums
MAIREAD Philpott has been described as a "great mum" who would not "harm a hair on a child's head".
During the trial at Nottingham Crown Court, Mick Philpott's ex-mistress, Lisa Willis agreed Mairead, "did not have a bad bone in her body" and said she was her best friend.
Ms Willis, who lived with the couple at their Victory Road home, said she and Mairead would watch television while Philpott played snooker in another room.
And the 28-year-old also revealed they were so close that Mairead confided in her that she suffered abuse as a child and teenager.
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During cross-examination, Sean Smith, Mairead's barrister, asked Ms Willis: "Did you know Mairead once tried to take her own life?"
Mrs Willis replied: "Yes".
Mr Smith said: "Did you know on one suicide note she said you were the sister she never had?"
Ms Willis replied: "I didn't know about the suicide note."
Mr Smith said: "You loved each other as sisters?"
"Yes," replied Ms Willis.
Mr Smith later asked Ms Willis if she and Mairead were great mums.
She replied: "Yes, we were."
He said: "She wouldn't harm a hair on a child's head, let alone on one of her own children, would she?"
"No," replied Ms Willis.
Mr Smith asked her: "She loved her children?"
"Yeah," said Ms Willis.
"She wouldn't ever put her children in danger?", he asked.
"No, she wouldn't," Ms Willis replied.
Mr Smith said: "She was caring and loving. She didn't have a bad bone in her body?"
"No, she didn't," replied Ms Willis
He added: "She loved everybody and everyone loved her."
"Yeah," replied Ms Willis.
Later in the proceedings, Mr Smith asked Ms Willis why she believed Mairead "didn't talk much" and instead "nodded a lot" to whatever Philpott was saying to her.
"She was probably scared," replied Ms Willis.
Earlier in the day, Ms Willis denied making threats to kill Philpott 10 days before the fire broke out and said she "was not angry" when he updated his Facebook profile at 1.30pm on May 1.
It read: "I love all my children more than life itself including the ones that are not mine. Everyone knows Jordan's dad is Ian Cousins. I love them and he will always be mine especially Duwayne and Jordan, no-one can take that away from me."
The court had previously been told that Jordan, who is Ms Willis' eldest child, is the son of Kevin Betteridge, a previous partner of Ms Willis.
Earlier this week the court heard Philpott had questioned Ms Willis about whether Jordan's father was Mr Cousins, who is the husband of Ms Willis' sister, Amanda.
Yesterday, Ms Willis told the court she became aware of the Facebook message about being contacted by a friend a couple of days later.
Under cross-examination, Anthony Orchard QC, for Philpott, asked Ms Willis: "Were you very angry when you found out (about the entry)?" Ms Willis said: "Not really angry, no."
Mr Orchard asked Ms Willis whether she phoned Philpott and threatened him after she learned of the Facebook message.
He said: "There was a threat wasn't there? You said to him on the phone 'leave me, my sister and my family alone or I will kill you'.
"You made that threat at 7.59pm on May 1 to Mr Philpott, didn't you?"
Ms Willis replied: "I made no threats whatsoever."
Mr Orchard told Ms Willis there were three separate witnesses who had previously overheard her say she would "burn" Mr Philpott.
Ms Willis said: "I never made any threats."
Mr Orchard said: "I ask you again. There are three people who report you as making a threat about burning him (Philpott) and the kids."
Ms Willis said: "I made no threats."
On the night before the fire Ms Willis told police she was with her sister at her home.
Mr Orchard said: "From the police report you say you did not find out about the fire until the following morning when the police came round."
Ms Willis said: "That's right."
Mr Orchard said: "You knew nothing about how that fire started?"
Ms Willis said: "Nothing."
Mr Orchard said: "Why did you not pick up the phone and try to speak to Mick or Mairead? After all you had effectively been a second mother to those six children.
"Did you not want to console with them?"
Ms Willis said: "I did not know what happened until that morning."
Mr Orchard said: "You did not try to contact them?"
Ms Willis said: "No."
*THE PHILPOTT TRIAL: Visit our Philpott trial channel here for all related stories in the fire death case.