Royal Derby Hospital mortuary boss tells of her shock at visits made by Philpotts to see their dead children
MICK Philpott faked a faint during a visit to see the bodies of his children at a mortuary, a court was told.
Mortuary manager Marie Smith said Philpott fainting in the room where the children were lying was "unlikely to be genuine".
She said on another visit with relatives he grabbed the police family liaison officer around the neck in what she termed as "horseplay".
And on a third visit he asked if the water she offered him could be topped up with gin and swore at his dead children as a "term of endearment".
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Ms Smith was giving evidence at Nottingham Crown Court on day 11 of the trial expected to last six weeks.
Philpott and his wife, Mairead, are accused of the manslaughter of their children, Duwayne, 13, Jade, 10, John, nine, Jack, seven, Jesse, six and Jayden, five.
They died after a fire at their home, 18 Victory Road, Allenton, in May.
The prosecution claims the pair started the fire to frame Philpott's former mistress, Lisa Willis, who moved out of the home, which she shared with the Philpotts, three months earlier.
Family friend Paul Mosley is also accused of manslaughter.
Ms Smith explained to the jury that she had worked at the mortuary at the Royal Derby Hospital for 20 years and supervised seven staff.
She and her staff had prepared the six children for the visit of their parents four days after the fire.
Yesterday, as she explained how they had arranged the children on three large trays, two children to each one, Philpott began to sob in the dock while his wife wiped tears from her eyes.
Ms Smith said: "It was tight for space inside the room so I remained outside while the parents went inside."
Richard Latham QC, prosecuting, asked her: "How long were they in there?"
Ms Smith said: "Not very long, a matter of minutes, I heard Mrs Philpott shout her husband's name twice."
Mr Latham said: "Mick, Mick, like that?"
Ms Smith said: "Yes, I did not see what happened but went inside where Mr Philpott was on the floor at the side of one of the trolleys.
"Mrs Philpott was in a crouching position up against a wall.
"It appeared he had fainted, he was lying on the floor in the recovery position.
"The sheets covering the children had not moved at all, everything was undisturbed.
"I went over to him but he did not wake up.
"I asked a member of staff to get a doctor and with that he got up."
Mr Latham asked: "Did this seem genuine to you?"
Ms Smith said: "It seemed very unlikely to me to be a genuine faint. Once I mentioned getting a doctor Mr Philpott got up straight away.
"It just did not appear genuine. I felt his behaviour was quite irrational."
Ms Smith told the court that, on a third visit, the Philpotts made to the mortuary, a large crowd had arrived to come and see the children.
She said: "It was quite a circus, there were quite a lot of people. They were in the garden by the mortuary.
"There was quite a lot of horseplay, Mr Philpott was talking to his [police] family liaison officer.
"He was pulling his own shirt up at the back then grabbed the family liaison officer in a headlock."
And Ms Smith said that, on a final visit, the fourth to take place in that week, she asked Philpott if wanted a glass of water when he arrived.
She said: "He asked me if some gin could be put in it.
"I have never, in my experience, had a relative make that request before."
She said he also used a swear word to refer to the children.
"I took it that he meant that as a term of endearment."
*THE PHILPOTT TRIAL: Visit our Philpott trial channel here for all related stories in the fire death case.