When I said 'stick to the story' I meant keep quiet about drugs and sex, maintains Philpott
MICK Philpott has said when he told his wife to "stick to the story" he meant not for them to tell the police about their sex life and drug use.
He also told the court his wife became pregnant and had an abortion after having sex with a man while they were on a "dogging" trip in Allestree Park.
As the 999 call made as fire took hold of their Allenton home was replayed in Nottingham Crown Court, Philpott sobbed in the witness box before sliding out of sight.
The packed courtroom, which included family members of the three accused, heard Anthony Orchard QC, Philpott's barrister, ask him questions about evidence already heard during the case.
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Mr Orchard asked Philpott about secret police recordings that were made while the Philpotts stayed in the Premier Inn, in Uttoxeter New Road, after the blaze, and again in a police van after their arrest and charge in May last year.
Mr Orchard said: "In the van you are heard saying to Mairead 'are you sticking to the story?' What did you mean by that?
Philpott replied: "We leaned forward to talk to each other, that is why the recording is quiet.
"It was about the sex and cannabis (that has come out as evidence in the case already). I was ashamed about it and it has affected my other children, everybody in the family and Mairead's family."
Mr Orchard said: "And you also say on the tape 'unless you want me to blab about it?' What does that mean?"
Philpott said: "I wanted to tell the police about the dogging."
Philpott admitted that he and Mairead had a short history of dogging (watching people or being watched having sex in public places), in Allestree Park prior to the fire and said they went "around once a month".
Mr Orchard asked: "What is your definition of dogging?"
Philpott answered: "People watching you."
Mr Orchard said: "Watching you do what?"
Philpott said: "Having sex."
Mr Orchard asked: "Where would you go?"
Philpott said: "Allestree."
Mr Orchard asked: "How often?"
Philpott said: "Not very often, once a month at the most."
Mr Orchard said: "Was it just you having sex and people watching?"
Philpott said: "No. There was a time when Mairead had sex with a man."
Mr Orchards asked: "What happened?" Philpott answered: "She fell pregnant. She had to have an abortion."
Philpott also admitted that he drove his wife and a neighbour, Adam Taylor, to buy cannabis from a house in Marlborough Road on the night of the fire. He said neither he nor Mairead smoked any that night but that he did smoke the drug and his smoking became more frequent after the fire, as he tried to cope with his grief.
He said: "I was finding it very difficult to cope with what was going on and sex and smoking cannabis was one way, a massive way."
Philpott admitted there was a sexual encounter between the three defendants – him, his wife and family friend Paul Mosley – shortly after midnight on the morning of the fire in the conservatory of 18 Victory Road.
He had shared the house with wife Mairead and his live-in lover, Lisa Willis, but Ms Willis moved out three months before the fire, taking the four children she had with Philpott.
Asked by Mr Orchard how he felt about the conservatory encounter, Philpott answered: "Totally, totally ashamed with what we did. It is something that to me and Mairead is totally irrelevant to our children, it is degrading, and if Lisa had found out I would not have got to see my kids again."
Philpott sobbed in the court as he relived what happened on the morning of the fire after he and Mairead were woken up in their bed in the conservatory by the fire alarm. He said: "I turned round to Mairead. She was sat up in bed. We went out into the conservatory and into the kitchen. I could see a bright orange light coming from the living room. I felt warm, I felt heat, I could hear a crackling noise. I opened the door to the lounge and went in about four steps.
"Thick black smoke was coming from the hallway."
Mr Orchard asked: "What was your first thought when you realised there was a fire?"
Philpott replied: "My kids, my kids, straight away."
Philpott said he climbed a ladder that led to his daughter's bedroom and tried to punch the window in but with no success.
He then went back down the ladder and used one of the children's tennis racquets to try to smash the window but it would not break. He was then handed a monkey wrench by Mairead and managed to smash the window but was beaten back by smoke.
Mr Orchard asked: "How did the smoke affect you?"
Philpott answered: "It made me cough but that did not bother me. I just wanted to get my babies."
He then told the court how he was helped to the front of the house by police officers and suffered an injury, a graze to his ribs, when he lunged forward and banged against a concrete pole after seeing his daughter Jade being brought out the house by firefighters.
And he also told the jury he barely remembered travelling to the Royal Derby Hospital after the blaze. He said: "I don't even remember if I was with Mairead."
Mr Orchard said: "How did you feel at this point?"
Philpott said: "I wanted to die, I wanted my kids, I was all over the place."
Following the six deaths Philpott said it was his idea to stay at the Premier Inn, in Uttoxeter New Road, where he and his wife were bugged by police. He said: "I told the police the only place I wanted to be was the Derby Royal so I could see the children. We were going over every night to see them."
The trial continues.
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