Mick Philpott hit me up to 10 times with piece of wood in front of my own son, former mistress Lisa Willis tells court
THE former mistress of alleged killer Mick Philpott has told a court he attacked her with a piece of wood, hitting her "five to 10 times" in front of her young son.
Lisa Willis said she had only moved into 18 Victory Road "a short while" before the alleged assault, which happened while Mick's wife, Mairead, was downstairs with other children.
Giving evidence on the third day of the trial of Philpott, Mairead and family friend Paul Mosley, Ms Willis also told jurors that Philpott forced her to pay her wages into his bank account.
He would ferry her to and from her job at the University of Derby and regularly accused her of having affairs with colleagues, she said.
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And she also told the court that Philpott would not allow his children to join after-school clubs.
Ms Willis, now 29, said she first met Philpott when she 17.
She and her sister Amanda Cousins bumped into him in the street in Derby.
He invited her to a New Year's Eve party and within a few weeks asked her and her young son, Jordan, to move in with him and Mairead.
Ms Willis, who cannot be pictured for legal reasons, said: "I wanted a bigger house for me and my son and Mick offered to let us move into his place."
Philpott, 56, his 31-year-old wife and a third defendant, 46-year-old Mosley, are on trial for the manslaughter of the Philpotts' six children.
Jade, 10, and her brothers John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, Jayden, five, and Duwayne, 13, all perished after a fire which engulfed their home in Victory Road, Allenton, as they slept in their beds in the early hours of May 11 last year.
All three defendants have denied the charges.
Asked by Richard Latham QC, prosecuting barrister, how long it was before she started a sexual relationship with Philpott, Ms Willis replied "it was a few weeks".
Mr Latham told the trial at Nottingham Crown Court: "As far as you were concerned was Mairead aware that a sexual relationship had developed between you?"
Ms Willis said: "Yes, Mick said he asked Mairead about it and she said she was fine with it.
"He asked her in front of me and she said it was fine."
Mr Latham asked about any incidents of violence between her and Philpott. She relived one episode which she said happened shortly after she had moved in.
Ms Willis said: "There was me and Jordan with Mick in the back bedroom of the house.
"Mairead was downstairs with Duwayne and Jade, who was only a baby.
"Mick asked me who Jordan's father was and I turned around and said it was Graham Betteridge (a former partner who had since moved to Skegness).
"He said it wasn't, he said it was Ian Cousins (Ms Willis's sister's husband) and then he hit me with a two-by-two piece of wood in front of Jordan."
Mr Latham asked "How many times?", to which Ms Willis replied "five to 10".
"He hit my legs, arms and body, leaving me with bruising. I can't understand (why he hit me) – he just said he didn't believe me when I said Graham Betteridge was Jordan's dad. I was sat on the bed crying. He just went downstairs. I felt shaken, disappointed.
"There was more violence. He grabbed me once by the coat. Then there was one time he threw a coffee cup at me.
"I ran out into the street and he came after me shouting 'come back'."
During yesterday morning's opening session of evidence Mr Latham moved on to discuss the living arrangement at 18 Victory Road.
Ms Willis said she and Mrs Philpott "took it in turns" to spend the night with Philpott.
She said: "I would say we took it in turns but the three of us were never together.
"One night it was me, the other night it was Mairead.
"The eldest boys would sleep in the front bedroom, the girls in the back bedroom, the other back bedroom would be Mick's and whichever woman wasn't there with him would spend the night on the sofa.
"Then Mick got a caravan and that is where he would sleep each night, again one night with me and one with Mairead.
"He said he wished he had married me, he said he loved me more, he said openly (to Mairead) he would divorce her to marry me."
Mr Latham asked Ms Willis about her work and she said she had a job in hospitality at the University of Derby to and from which Philpott would take her each day.
She said: "He accused me of having affairs with other people at work."
Mr Latham asked: "Was there any truth in that?"
Ms Willis said: "No, none at all."
She said she left that job and started another as a cleaner which meant she started work at 6am. Again, she said Philpott ferried her to and from work each day.
Ms Willis said: "He accused me of having affairs a couple of times."
Mr Latham said: "What happened to your income from work?"
Ms Willis said: "It went into Michael Philpott's bank account."
Mr Latham said: "Did you not have a bank account?"
Ms Willis said: "No, I couldn't get one, I had no birth certificate, passport or driving licence."
Ms Willis said Philpott had control over her finances and her relationship with her sister, Amanda Cousins, which fizzled out.
She said after not contacting her sister for a number of years she started contact again in December 2011 after finding her on Facebook, but felt the need to delete any online correspondence between them.
Ms Willis said: "I was asking for help, I wanted to get out (of the relationship)."
Mr Latham asked: "Why did you delete your messages between you and your sister?" Miss Willis said: "Because I knew that he would try and find out what I was planning."
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