The parents and a man accused of killing six children in a house fire took part in a “rehearsal” of the fatal blaze weeks before, a court heard yesterday.
Husband and wife Mick and Mairead Philpott and friend Paul Mosley are alleged to have acted out how they would save the youngsters from the property once the fire took hold.
All three are accused of the manslaughter of the six children in the fire that engulfed the Philpott family home in Victory Road, Allenton in Derby, in the early hours of May last year.
Giving evidence to their trial at Nottingham Crown Court, Melissa John, the girlfriend of Mosley’s nephew, said he told her after he had been arrested and bailed by police in connection with the fire that the three of them had practised the fire.
She told the court: “He said ‘What if I was to tell you that we rehearsed this six weeks ago?”’
Prosecutor Richard Latham QC asked her what the plan had been once the fire had started, and Ms John said: “Mick and Mairead were to be inside the house and Paul was to kick in the back door.”
Mr Latham asked her: “What were Mick and Mairead to do?”
She said: “Run out on to the front and scream for help.”
“What was Paul to do?” Mr Latham asked.
“To save the children from the back bedroom,” Ms John replied.
She told the jury that Mosley said Philpott had been “going on about wanting a bigger house”.
The court also heard Mrs Philpott, 31, had written in a suicide note that “next time she will take the children with her”, and part of the plan had been for her to take the blame for the fire.
Ms John also told jurors that while talking to Mosley at her home she asked about the children’s parents. She said: “I was asking him if he thought Mick and Mairead were actually capable of doing it and he said ‘I don’t know, but if they did it’s something that’s gone wrong’.”
Mosley, 46, was arrested in June last year and released on police bail. He was rearrested and charged in November.
Jade, ten, and her brothers John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, Jayden, five, and Duwayne, 13, all perished after the fire engulfed their home as they slept in their beds. All three defendants have denied the charges.
Ms John told jurors that Mosley was “bragging” to people about being on bail for murder.
Ms John agreed with Ben Nolan QC, representing Mosley, when he asked her if Mosley was a “fantasist” who exaggerated in order to “big himself up”.
Ms John agreed that she often did not believe what Mosley told her but when he told her about the “rehearsal” of the fire, his demeanour changed and she believed him. She said: “Paul’s body language had changed from a smug sort of body language to nervous, which is different to how I had seen him before.”