Philpott trial: Neighbours tried to get the children out of blazing house
RICHARD Latham QC told the jury: "The case involves the tragic death of six children in a house fire in Derby.
"The facts in the case are deeply distressing from the first and you need to approach them calmly and objectively.
"We say it involved a joint-enterprise, a plan that went horribly wrong and ended in a terrible tragedy."
He said a number of neighbours tried to help get the children out of the house – 18 Victory Road, Allenton – at the time of the blaze.
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One neighbour, Daniel Stevenson, who is due to give evidence, lived three doors away and climbed over Philpott's caravan, which was parked in the driveway at 18 Victory Road, to gain access to the back garden.
Mr Latham said: "He ran to the front of number 18 and saw there was a lot of smoke in the front room.
"A brave man, he climbed over the caravan and into the back garden where a ladder was leaning against the rear wall to the house.
"He got up the ladder where he saw a socket wrench sticking out of the window of one of the upstairs rooms.
"Daniel was forced down and then got on to the roof of the conservatory. He saw Mick Philpott coming out of the snooker room."
Mr Latham said another neighbour, from number 29, climbed over the fence at the back garden and spoke to Philpott. He said Philpott told him "the kids are in the house, in the back bedroom".
Emergency services led the Philpotts to a friend at number 19, where they helped clothe them to keep them warm.
Mr Latham said: "While they were at this house, Philpott is heard saying, 'the police should have sorted this 19 weeks ago – this is down to that bitch's boyfriend.'
"He then went on to say this to a number of people in the locality on the ensuing days.
"We suggest she (Philpott's ex-girlfriend Lisa Willis) was being set up as the culprit here."
*THE PHILPOTT TRIAL: Visit our Philpott trial channel here for all related stories in the fire death case.