Philpott trial: 'Strimmer alibi was foiled because its fuel was different from the petrol that started fire'
MICK Philpott's plan to use his strimmer as an explanation for any petrol contamination was foiled because it was the wrong type of fuel, said the prosecution.
Richard Latham QC put to Philpott that two weeks before he was arrested he knew that police knew the source of the fire was petrol and also that they had his clothes from the night of the blaze.
"So you had a fortnight to think about it," said Mr Latham.
The court was told that, after he had been arrested, in his interview, he volunteered to police that they might find petrol on his clothes, in the house, in the conservatory and in the garden, as a result of him using a petrol strimmer.
Mr Latham said: "You didn't, in interview, suggest any other way you may have got petrol on your clothing or in the house."
"That's correct, my minibus was diesel," said Philpott.
Mr Latham said: "The only thing you didn't appreciate at the time is not only can a scientist detect the presence of petrol but the type of petrol. You had no idea that a scientist could do that did you?"
"Yes," Philpott replied. "I do watch programmes like NCIS and stuff like that."
Mr Latham continued: "The one thing you could think of for your clothes being contaminated or anything else is the strimmer. Of course that's the one thing, the evidence shows, could not have contaminated it, could it?"
"I don't know," said Philpott.
Mr Latham then explained that the type of petrol found in the strimmer was not that which was found on the three defendants' clothes or in the seat of the fire.
Mr Latham said that in covert recordings made by police Philpott said that it was the strimmer that would nail neighbour Adam Taylor for the fire. "But it's the one thing that doesn't," said Mr Latham. Philpott agreed, he added: "That suggestion didn't come from me."
"Are you continuing to blame Adam Taylor for this?" said Mr Latham.
"No," replied Philpott, "I already said I don't blame anybody."
"How do we end up with Total petrol in the U-bend of your sink?" asked Mr Latham.
"I have no idea," replied Philpott.
Mr Latham said: "You used petrol to set this fire, didn't you, you put it there?"
"No," said Philpott, "I'm afraid you've got the wrong two people."
Mr Latham said: "You're definitely not blaming [ex-lover] Lisa for it?" "No."
"Amanda, [Lisa's sister] in your words 'is a vindictive cow'. Are you suggesting she did it?"
"A possibility, I don't know," replied Philpott.
"And Adam is a possibility?" asked Latham.
"Anybody is a possibility," replied Philpott.
Mr Latham asked Philpott what he had done to make him "a target for threats". The defendant said the reason people were upset was because Lisa Willis had left the home she shared with him and his wife Mairead at 18 Victory Road, his relationship with her and the fact they did not want him to have the children.
Mr Latham then asked: "Are there any reasons to set fire to your house?"
"I don't know," replied Philpott, "how do you know it was my house intended in the first place? We don't know."
"So you could have been the victim of a random attack?" asked Mr Latham.
"A possibility," replied Philpott.
Mr Latham then went on to talk about Miss Willis leaving and Philpott's treatment of women.
The lawyer said: "You have always tried to manipulate women. You can't stand ones who stand up to you."
"I'm just going to not answer that question," said Philpott.
Mr Latham said the day Ms Willis left she had been "so frightened" of Philpott she turned her phone off.
"No, she turned it off because she didn't want me to contact her," said Philpott.
"Yes, quite right, she didn't want you anywhere near her," retorted Mr Latham.
He said Philpott's relationship with another former lover, Heather Kehoe, had been abusive. "In certain parts," said Philpott. He said if someone laid a finger on one of his children he would hurt them.
"In what circumstances are you entitled to lay a finger on a woman?" asked Mr Latham.
Philpott responded: "What gives her the right to chuck my children on the floor?"
Mr Latham said Philpott had made "a poisonous allegation" that Miss Kehoe had sex in front of the children, during a custody battle for them. Philpott responded: "She did. It's true."
Mr Latham also put to the defendant that in the custody battle he had denied having a relationship with both Mairead and Lisa.
"I cannot remember," replied Philpott.
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