Parents held in six fire deaths inquiry

The parents of six children killed in an arson attack on their home have been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Mick Philpott and his wife Mairead were arrested in Derby city centre in connection with the blaze at the house on May 11.

Their children Jade, 10, and brothers John, nine, Jack, seven, Jessie, six, and Jayden, five, all died in the fire, and a sixth sibling Duwayne, 13, died of his injuries in Birmingham Children’s Hospital two days’ later.

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Petrol was used to start the blaze at the house in Victory Road, Allenton, Derby, police have revealed.

Derbyshire Police said a 55-year-old man and a 31-year-old woman from Derby were arrested together but did not name them.

Five days after the fire, Mr and Mrs Philpott faced the media in an emotional press conference.

Mr Philpott thanked those who tried to rescue his children and spoke of how he and his wife had decided to donate Duwayne’s organs for transplant, saying it “takes a bit of the pain away”.

The 55-year-old, who is believed to have fathered 17 children, was said by police to have made “valiant” efforts to rescue his children during the blaze.

Dubbed “Shameless Mick” in 2007 after demanding a larger council house, he is well known in the local community because of media reports about his large family, and has also appeared in a reality TV show alongside former government minister Ann Widdecombe.

This morning a mobile police office van was parked outside the Philpotts’ semi-detached house and a uniformed officer stood guard outside the taped-off property, where numerous floral tributes still lay.

Announcing the arrests yesterday, Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cotterill urged anyone with “crucial information” to come forward.

He said: “I suspect there may still be people with crucial information who have not yet come forward to speak to us.