Philpott trial: Pc tells court: 'Philpott flew into rage... he said he would take the matter into his own hands'
WHEN Mick Philpott learned police were not going to arrest his former mistress – over a complaint he made about her threatening him – he flew into a rage, a court heard.
PC Sharon Atwal said the father-of-17 told her he would "take matters into his own hands" after being unhappy Lisa Willis would not be prosecuted.
A court heard how PC Atwal went to 18 Victory Road, Allenton, on May 2 – the day after Philpott, 56, rang the police to tell them about the threat.
He had said Ms Willis had phoned him on May 1 and warned him, if he did not "leave her, her sister or her family alone, she would kill him."
That call, the court was told, left Philpott "fearful for him and his kids."
Philpott and his wife, Mairead Philpott, 31, are accused – together with family friend Paul Mosley, 45 – of killing their six young children in a fire at the property on May 11 last year.
Duwayne Philpott, 13, his sister, Jade, 10, and their brothers, John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six and Jayden, five, all died from the effects of smoke inhalation.
The trio all deny the manslaughter of the children.
The court heard how PC Atwal – who at the time worked at Cotton Lane police station – visited Philpott and spoke to him and his wife about the allegation about Ms Willis on May 2.
She said she took the issue back to the station and returned the following day. Giving evidence on day six of the trial, she said: "I told him Lisa had been spoken to (about the alleged threat)."
Richard Latham QC, prosecuting, said: "Was there going to be an arrest or caution."
PC Atwal said: "No."
Mr Latham said: "What was his reaction?"
PC Atwal said: "Mick was not happy with that, he said he would take matters into his own hands, he told me he was not going to accept that decision.
"Mick started to become angry, he started to punch out into thin air.
"I was trying to explain to Mick why we had come to that decision but he was not listening. He told me to get out the house.
"I tried to explain to him that Lisa would be spoken to but not under caution.
"He was still getting angry, he was shaking. He walked out into another room, I could hear a thumping noise.
"It was possibly a wall or a door (he was punching)."
PC Atwal told the court how, after speaking to Mairead to try to explain the situation to her, Philpott came back into the room.
She said: "Mick suggested I speak to the children.
"He brought the children into the room, he made them stand in a line in what I would term military fashion.
"He told them to tell me what they had heard and one of them said how one of his children (who Philpott had with Ms Willis) was believed to have made threats to kill their daddy."
PC Atwal said she first met Philpott while Ms Willis was still living at the address but could not recall the date.
She said she had twice gone to speak to Philpott – on both occasions when his son Mikey, who is from his previous relationship, had gone missing. Mr Latham said: "Did you get the impression that Mairead and Lisa were equal partners with Mick Philpott, if I can put it that way? Was there a rank or structure?
PC Atwal said: "I got the impression that Mairead was the main partner and Lisa took second place."
Mr Latham said: "If Mr Philpott wanted something, what would happen?"
PC Atwal said: "It would automatically be brought to him by one of the ladies."
PC Lucy Moorcroft, also giving evidence at yesterday's hearing, said she accompanied PC Atwal to the house on May 3
She said she was with her colleague when she told Philpott that Ms Willis would not be questioned under caution or arrest.
PC Moorcroft said: "He was not very happy, he became quite agitated and a bit aggressive.
"He said he would take matters into his own hands. He said if we did not help him he would do things himself.
"The only indication he gave was he would to the press and go on national TV.
"He said, if the roles were reversed, he would be arrested. The children were there, they were a little embarrassed and anxious about what they were there for."
Meanwhile, the wife and mother-in-law of Derby darts player Colin Osborne told the court how Philpott announced to them Ms Willis had threatened to firebomb his home.
Sarah Osborne and her mother, Geraldine Regan, each gave accounts of a minibus journey to watch Mr Osborne play an exhibition match, in Leicester, on April 6 last year.
The pair told the court their travel arrangements to the match had fallen through and Philpott had stepped in at the last minute and agreed to drive Mr Osborne's supporters.
Mrs Osborne told the jury how, on the way, Philpott took a call. She said: "Mick Philpott had a phone call and pulled the minibus over.
"I heard him say to whoever he was talking to: 'Call me if you get any more.'"
Richard Latham QC, prosecuting, asked Mrs Osborne: "Did he then make some sort of announcement?"
She said: "He said: 'Sorry guys, someone has just called threatening to torch the house with the kids in it.'"
Mr Latham said: "Did anyone ask who it was that phoned him?"
Mrs Osborne said: "Yes, my sister said to him: 'Who was that that phoned you' and he said: 'It was my wife, Mairead.'"
Mrs Osborne told the court the exhibition match took place on Good Friday last year and involved her husband and darts legends Eric Bristow and Bobby George.
She said, after the match, Philpott drove them back to Derby – where she and her family and friends ended up in Fever nightclub and where they bumped into Philpott's former partner, Ms Willis.
Mrs Osborne said she spoke to her and told her that Philpott was missing seeing Ms Willis's children.
The court was told that, two days later, Philpott rang her to thank her.
Mrs Osborne said: "Mick said he could hug me because he had heard from Lisa and she had agreed to see him."
Mrs Regan, giving evidence, said she was in the minibus that night.
She said: "We pulled over because he (Philpott) had to take a phone call."
Mr Latham asked: "After that call was over, did he say anything about who it was?"
Mrs Regan said: "He said: 'Sorry guys, that was the missus. My ex has threatened to pour petrol on the house.'
"I said to him: 'Are you going to tell the police about that?' and he said to me: 'They are not interested. They are not bothered.' I thought that was quite arrogant."
Mrs Regan was asked by Louise Sweet, Philpott's barrister, if she could have misheard what her client said.
Miss Sweet said: "I suggest what you could have heard was Mr Philpott telling you he had had a death threat."
Mrs Reagan said: "I did hear that."
Miss Sweet said: "But that is not in your police witness statement. I am going to suggest your story has grown a bit and even grown a bit today in this court room. I say you have, as a family, chatted to each other since the fire happened.
"You did not give your witness statement until January this year, nine months after the fire. It is only now that you have come up with this petrol bomb scenario."
Mrs Regan said: "I am sorry but I heard the words petrol bomb said."
Anastasia Regan, the sister of Mrs Osborne and another passenger on the minibus, also gave evidence.
She said she specifically heard Philpott mention "petrol bomb" after taking a call on his mobile phone.
Miss Regan said: "He made a point afterwards about telling us what the phone call was about. He took the call, put the phone down and then said: 'Sorry about that but someone has just threatened to petrol bomb my house.'"
A witness statement from Mrs Regan's sister, Eileen Mason – another passenger on the minibus – was read out in court.
In it, she said: "I remember him saying that was someone with a death threat. I was aghast at what he said because it is not something I would ever think I would hear someone saying."
Earlier in yesterday's hearing Ian Cousins, Ms Willis's brother-in-law, took the witness stand.
He told the court how he heard from his wife, Amanda Cousins, that Philpott had written an entry on social networking website Facebook on May 1 – 10 days before the fire – claiming Mr Cousins was the father of Ms Willis's eldest son Jordan.
Mr Cousins said: "Apparently, he was saying that Jordan was my son."
Mr Latham said: "What effect did that have on you?"
Mr Cousins said: "I took it with a pinch of salt. I knew it was not true. Lisa knew it was not true, Amanda knew it was not true. I thought: 'Just let him (Philpott) get on with it.' I was, like 'whatever'."
The trial continues.
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