Mick Philpott was 'paranoid' about custody battle
MICK Philpott had become "paranoid" about losing his children in an imminent custody battle, the court heard.
The jury was told how Philpott was worried he would not be able to see his children after a legal hearing – scheduled on the same day his children died in the blaze.
Nottingham Crown Court heard how Philpott was locked in a vitriolic custody battle with his former mistress, Lisa Willis, 29, after she left the home she shared with him and his wife three months earlier – taking her five children with her.
Philpott was father to four of them and had another six with wife Mairead.
Giving evidence, neighbour and friend Adam Taylor said Philpott was not confident about the outcome of the court hearing. He said: "He was more paranoid at not winning."
Richard Latham QC, prosecuting, asked him: "If he did not win, what did he think would happen?"
"That he would not get to see them," Mr Taylor said.
Mr Taylor also told the jury he borrowed a strimmer from Philpott some time before the fire.
The court heard it operated using an oil-petrol mix and the pair had to make a new solution when the strimmer failed.
He said he returned it to Philpott the same day.
Mr Taylor's partner, Victoria Ferguson, said Philpott would get his wife to do tasks for him around the house.
She had asked Mairead if she was happy with the domestic situation involving Ms Willis and said her reply was: "Whatever makes him happy."