Philpott fire: Trial hears Philpott's faint in mortuary looked "unlikely to be genuine"
The case against two parents and a family friend accused of killing six children in a Derby house fire continues today.
Mick Philpott, his wife Mairead, and family friend Paul Mosley, have pleaded not guilty to six counts of manslaughter.
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 after flames tore through their home in Victory Road, Allenton, on May 11 last year.
Neighbours, police and social workers are expected to give evidence today at Nottingham Crown Court.
Day 11 of the trial
3.30pm The trial is adjourned until 10.15am tomorrow.
2.50pm Marie Smith is the next person to take the stand. She works in the mortuary at the Royal Derby Hospital.
She said she left the Philpotts in the mortuary room with the bodies of the six children. She told the court: "I heard Mrs Philpott call out her husband's name twice. I went into the room - Mr Philpott had fainted but everything was undisturbed. It looked unlikely that the faint was genuine."
Ms Smith told the jury that the Philpotts visited the mortuary on four separate occasions. During the third visit, she said she offered Mick Philpott a glass of water when he arrived.
Richard Latham QC, prosecuting, asked her what his response was.
Ms Smith replied: "He asked if some gin could be put in it. I have never, in my experience, had a relative make that request before."
2.35pm The next witness to give evidence is social worker Nicola Atterbury.
She said she was also at the meeting held on on May 25. She told the court: "They (the Philpotts) looked like they were going on a day out."
She added: "Mr Philpott's general demeanour (at the meeting) was that he was quite angry. At one point I felt he was going to cry. He was almost squeezing his face like a child would to force tears."
2.15pm The trial resumes with cross-examination of social worker Suzanne Eastwood.
Anthony Orchard QC, for Philpott, asked her whether wanting to see his children and being told they had been returned to Ms Willis was the trigger for his anger. Ms Eastwood said: "Yes."
12.35pm The next witness is social worker Suzanne Eastwood. She said she had a meeting with the Philpotts on May 25 to discuss access to Ms Willis's children. She said Philpott was "calm and matter of fact" when discussing the children he had lost in the fire.
She said Philpott got "annoyed and threatening" when she told him the children were back with Lisa.
12.20pm The next witness is Superintendent Kate Meynell, senior investigator for the police.
Spt Meynell said she met the Philpotts at St Mary's Wharf police station in Derby on May 14.
She said: "Mr Philpott said to me `There is only one thing we want`. He then turned to Mairead and said `Tell her what we want'. Mairead paused for a moment and said `We want the other children (Lisa Willis') back with us'."
12.10pm Neighbour Scott Oxen told the court: "I looked outside and saw the door was on fire, the flames were licking the patio door. It looked like the police were trying to get in the front door."
Mr Oxen said he answered his partner's mobile phone on the afternoon of the fire and it was Philpott.
Mr Oxen said: "Philpott said `The police have told me that someone poured petrol through the letter box, the ******** poured petrol through the letter box'."
11.50am Louise Quantick is called to give evidence. She was a patient at Royal Derby Hospital when the children were taken in.
She said she saw the Philpotts outside the accident and emergency department. She told the court she heard Philpott say to his group: "It wasn't supposed to end like this."
11.45am The court is read a statement from neighbour Erica Steadman. In it she said: "I was awoken by a scream. It was a scream I will never forget."
10.55am PC Deborah Croxall takes the stand. She came on duty at 7am on the morning of the fire. She was asked to go to Royal Derby Hospital and relieved PC Kevin Cassidy as the interim family liaison officer.
She said she drove the Philpotts to Birmingham Children's Hospital.
She said at the hospital she saw Mairead looking at her mobile phone. Shaun Smith, for Mrs Philpott, asked: "She was looking at a photograph of the children, wasn;t she?". PC Croxall said: "Yes, she was."
10.30am The first witness is neighbour Julie Meynell.
She told the court that she dialled 999 after being awoken by the smell of smoke. She said: "I thought it was the caravan on fire."
Her son, Sean Doyle, is called next.
He was watching TV when he heard his mother shout "Mick's house in on fire."
Mr Doyle said he went into the street. "There was a lot of smoke and I could see flames coming from the side window."
Mick Philpott is in court today dressed in a black suit, a white shirt and a pink tie. His wife, Mairead, is in a black cardigan. Paul Mosley is wearing a black jumper and and coat.
Yesterday the trial heard that two brothers who helped try to save the six children have said Mick Philpott "faked coughing" in the aftermath of the blaze.
Darren Butler, who lived across Victory Road from the Philpotts, told how he feared for his brother, Jamie, as he would "not think about his own safety in that sort of situation".
And Jamie fought back tears as he gave evidence, saying he "apologised" to Philpott for not being able to save his children.
Two other witnesses, friends Linda Muir and Janine Matthews, said they approached Philpott after he collapsed in the street and he told them he "knew where he was going" after they asked him if he knew who started the blaze.
The neighbours were all giving evidence on Day 10 of the trial, which is expected to last at least six weeks.
Darren Butler said he was woken by Jamie at about 3.45am on May 11 last year.
He said he put on a pair of trainers and jogging bottoms before running to the
Mr Butler said: "I was not just worried for the children but also for my brother who was three or four minutes ahead of me,
"I could hear him at the back of the house. I was worried because he is the sort of person who would not think about his own safety in a situation like that.
"There was thick black smoke coming from the window at the top of the stairs."
Mr Butler climbed on to the roof of Philpott's caravan which was parked next to the house.
He said: "It was after I got off the caravan I saw Mick coming out (the conservatory). In my eyes he was coughing, but it was fake.
"This was not a man coughing from smoke inhalation, this was all fake.
"Throughout that day me and my brother were still coughing. I could not get the smell of smoke off me,"
His brother told how he and another neighbour, Daniel Stevenson, were the first two people at the scene.
He said he, too, jumped over the caravan and into the back garden before climbing a ladder and the getting into the house via the snooker room at the back.
Mr Butler said: "The door was on fire. It was impossible to get in.
"I jumped on to the caravan roof and then into the back garden.
"I said to them (the Philpotts) 'where are the children?' and Mick shouted back that they were all in the back bedroom.
"I can remember being in a maze (inside the snooker room), I could hear a dog barking in the conservatory. I got the dog out not knowing if it was going to bite me.
"Every step I took forward I had to take five steps back. I had no top on, no T-shirt to cover my mouth.
"I was just breathing in fumes."
Jamie Butler shouted to Mr Stevenson to be careful as he was on the roof of the conservatory and he was worried it would not take his weight.
He said: "I was at the back of the house I went straight back inside. I said I was not leaving without getting them babies out."
Jamie Butler then said he went back out on to Victory Road via a neighbour's garden, where he came across Philpott.
Richard Latham QC, prosecuting, said: "When did you next see Mick?"
Mr Butler took a sharp intake of breath in the witness box before answering: "When I went on the front when I apologised."
Mr Latham said: "What did you apologise for?"
Mr Butler said: "Not being able to save his kids."
Mr Latham then asked about what "condition" Philpott was in at this stage.
Mr Butler said: "There was no condition, Mr Philpott wasn't in a condition, it was like he had not been in a fire, like he had not run around in a room full of smoke."
Ms Muir and Ms Matthews told the court they had returned to Ms Muir's house, in nearby Osmaston Park Road at 3am. At about 4am they saw the commotion from Victory Road.
Ms Muir said: "You could smell a fire, but it was stronger than a bonfire."
The pair said they both went to the scene where they saw Philpott walk out of a neighbour's house smoking a cigarette before collapsing on the floor.
Ms Muir said she approached him.
She told the court: "He threw himself on the floor crying. I went over to him. He showed me a graze and said 'it's all six of them' referring to the children.
"I asked him where he was and he told me he had been sleeping in the caravan.
"I either asked him how it started or who had done it and he said to me 'I know where I am going'."
Ms Muir's evidence was backed up in court by Ms Matthews.
She too overheard Philpott say he had been asleep in the caravan when the fire broke out.
Ms Matthews said: "Linda asked Mick if he knew who had done it.
He said 'no, but I know where I am going'.
"He then started walking up the road towards the traffic lights.
"His phone was ringing. I shouted to him that his phone was ringing. He answered it before walking up the street."
The trial continues.
*THE PHILPOTT TRIAL: Visit our Philpott trial channel here for all related stories in the fire death case.