A mother jailed for 17 years for killing her six children in a house fire has yesterday lost a second bid to challenge the length of her sentence.
Mairead Philpott, 32, was jailed alongside her husband Mick at Nottingham Crown Court in April after being found guilty of the manslaughter of Jade Philpott and her brothers John, Jack, Jesse, Jayden and Duwayne.
There was applause from the public gallery as Court of Appeal judges sitting at Nottingham Crown Court dismissed a renewed application by Mairead Philpott to challenge her jail term.
Mick Philpott was jailed for life with a minimum term of 15 years after being branded a “disturbingly dangerous” man.
His wife, who is likely to be released after serving half of her 17-year term, took part in a plan to set fire to the couple’s home in Victory Road in an effort to frame his former mistress.
The children were aged between five and 13.
Members of Mairead’s family including her mother Vera, father Jimmy and sisters Bernadette and Jennifer, were in the public gallery for yesterday’s hearing.
Mairead Philpott was not in court.
Setting out Mairead’s grounds of appeal, her barrister Shaun Smith QC said: “The essence is the utter dependence of Mairead Philpott on Mick Philpott, whilst not excusing culpability, legally or morally, was not given sufficient weight in assessing the length of her sentence.”
He said Mairead was “particularly vulnerable” to a man like Philpott who specialised in taking advantage of young girls with no family support or self-esteem.
Mr Smith said Mairead, who had been a loving mother, would forever be known as a child killer and that her sentence would be “a lifetime reminder of her inability to stand up to a disturbingly dangerous man”.
The court heard co-accused Paul Mosley had abandoned an appeal of the length of his sentence.
Dismissing the appeal yesterday, The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, sitting with His Justice Flaux and Justice MacDuff said there was “no doubt” Mairead Philpott had loved her children but that as their mother she had a responsibility to them.
Lord Thomas dismissed Mr Smith’s claims that she could not stand up for herself against her husband.
“This was not a spur of the moment plan.
“The risks of pouring petrol inside a building must have been obvious.
“She participated in the setting of the fire as petrol was found on her clothes.
“Her conduct after arrest was one where she continued to maintain the lie that others were responsible.”
He continued: “It is extremely difficult to understand that during that custody time and the lengthy trial she did not admit the truth, expose the lie and own up to abusing her responsibilities.”
The hearing was the first to be held outside London since legislation was passed to allow Court of Appeal hearings to be broadcast.