Derby house fire: Neighbour’s tears for children

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A NEIGHBOUR wept as he described his brave attempts to get into a fatal house fire in Derby in which six children died.

Daniel Stevenson, dressed in his pyjamas, made numerous attempts to get into the semi-detached house in Victory Road, Derby, last May, in a bid to rescue six children trapped inside the fire which is alleged to have been started by their father.

Michael Philpott, 56, who is accused of starting the fire to win a custody battle with his former mistress Lisa Willis, denies manslaughter along with his wife Mairead and a third defendant Paul Mosley, 46.

Jayden, five, Jessie, six, Jack, eight, John, nine, Jade, ten, and Dwayne, 13, all died at the Philpotts’ home on 11 May last year.

Mr Stevenson told Nottingham Crown Court he climbed over a caravan parked at the side of the house into the back garden and climbed up some ladders to try to look in.

Mr Stevenson also said he got inside the house through the conservatory doors but was beaten back by the thick, black smoke when he reached the kitchen door. “Is that when things got too difficult?” Richard Latham QC, prosecuting, asked. “Yes,” Mr Stevenson replied.

The trial will resume for a third week on Monday.