THE former girlfriend of a father accused of killing his six children in a house fire has told a court how he joked about wanting enough children to make up a football team. Heather Kehoe had two children with Mick Philpott during their relationship and the pair ran off to Derby together two weeks after her 16th birthday.
She met Philpott when she was 14. He was aged around 37 at the time and was married with children.
Giving evidence at his trial for manslaughter at Nottingham Crown Court yesterday, Ms Kehoe told jurors she had two sons during the relationship and, asked how many children she understood he wanted, she said: “Eleven was the number.”
She said there was a joke about that figure. “It was something about a football team or reserves,” she said.
Prosecutor Richard Latham QC asked her: “Did you make a personal decision about whether you wanted this football team or not?”
She replied: “Yes, I decided it was not happening.”
Ms Kehoe said she got the contraceptive coil fitted soon afterwards and Philpott, now aged 56, would be physically and verbally abusive towards her because she did not get pregnant again. He often compared her with his ex-wife, Pamela Lomax.
“He said that I was not a real woman because I could not give him the children he wanted and Pam had given him a girl, and I would never be half the woman Pam was,” she said.
He also made her suffer because she had not given him a daughter, the court heard. “He used to beat me for that, too. It was my fault that our son was not a girl,” she said.
Philpott and his 31-year-old wife Mairead are on trial for the manslaughter of the Philpotts’ six children, along with a third defendant, 46-year-old Paul Mosley.
Jade, ten, and her brothers John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, Jayden, five, and Duwayne, 13, all perished after a fire which engulfed their home in Victory Road, Allenton, Derby, as they slept in the early hours of 11 May last year.
All three defendants have denied the charges.
The court heard that Philpott and Ms Kehoe had run away to Derby after Philpott’s wife came home and found them in bed together. Ms Kehoe said she was given a choice by him to go home to her parents, who disapproved of the relationship, or go with him.
She chose the latter and the pair stayed with friends before getting the Victory Road council house when she was pregnant.
The court heard Philpott had repeatedly refused flats before being offered the house.
Mr Latham asked her: “What did he want out of life?”
She replied: “He wanted lots of children and being able to stop at home and look after them.”
Ms Kehoe, 32, met Philpott when she used to spend time with friends near a lake where he would regularly go fishing.
He won her over in a relatively short space of time, she told the jury of seven men and five women. She said: “He was very outgoing, he spoke to everybody and made a fuss of everybody.
“He came across as quite charming, I suppose. Amusing.”
The trial continues.