Derby death blaze accused police van conversations played in court

The BBC's Jon Brain: "A very harrowing 999 call was made by the Philpotts from their garden."

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A father accused of killing six of his children in a fire said in a recording made in a police van he "didn't mean to do it", prosecutors have claimed.

The secret recording was played at Nottingham Crown Court during the trial of Mick Philpott, who is charged with manslaughter, along with his wife Mairead and their friend Paul Mosley.

But a defence witness said the phrase was obscured by background noise.

The three defendants deny the six separate counts of manslaughter.

The prosecution said Mr Philpott, in a quiet whispered exchange, was heard to say: "You definitely sticking to the story. I didn't mean to do it on my life."

Start Quote

We will walk free and prove our innocence, right?”

End Quote Mick Philpott Defendant

Dr Martin Barry, a forensic speech analyst, giving evidence on behalf of the defence, told the court that the phrase was too obscured to determine what was said.

999 call

He said he had listened to the recording "several thousand times".

In the tape, Mr Philpott, 56, was also heard saying: "There's no evidence. They have got nothing. No petrol on me, on my trousers."

The court was told that recording equipment was placed in the police van and also in the couple's hotel room four days after the fire.

The jury also heard an audio tape of the 999 call the Philpotts made to emergency services during the fire.

Michael and Mairead Philpott in court Mr Philpott was heard saying he thought his hotel room might be bugged

The court heard Mr Philpott shouting out: "I can't get in the bedroom, my kids are upstairs."

A short time later, he was heard sobbing and shouting: "There's no noise from me children."

Video clips from a press conference held by the couple five days after the blaze were also played in court.

During the conference, led by Derbyshire Police, the couple thanked friends and emergency services staff for their attempts to rescue their six children.

Afterwards, Mr Philpott fell to the floor in the corridor and lay in the recovery position, the court was told.

'Sort them out'

In the tape recordings from the hotel room played to the jury, Mr Philpott said a number of times that the room might be bugged and told Mr Mosley to "shush" when they were discussing the night of the fire.

Mr Philpott was also heard asking his 31-year-old wife about what she had told her colleagues about the fire. He was heard saying: "You haven't told the truth, have you?"

In the tape, Mr Philpott said to his wife: "I love you so much. Look at me. We will walk free and prove our innocence, right? And then we'll sort them out, promise you."

A few minutes later he asked his wife: "You definitely sticking with the story?"

Mr Philpott then asked: "What did you say? You didn't do it? Don't you worry, we'll walk through it, I promise you that."

'Deliberate emission of petrol'

Later, the court heard from Mat Lee, from Derbyshire Fire Service, who said the blaze started in the hallway in front of the door and quickly spread upstairs to the three bedrooms.

He said: "The most likely cause of the fire was, in my opinion, the deliberate emission of petrol vapour by a naked flame or spark on the ground floor by a person."

Mr Lee said the blaze quickly spread into the living room, melting polystyrene ceiling tiles which dropped on to the carpet, setting it and a curtain alight.

It spread up the stairs to the bedrooms where the six children were asleep in their beds, he said.

The jury heard that most of the UPVC front door, which had been locked during the fire, had been burnt away by the intense heat.

Mr Lee also said the smoke patterns suggested the flames came from inside the property and not outside.

Jade Philpott, 10, John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, and Jayden, five, died in the fire at their home on Victory Road in Allenton, Derby, last May.

Their brother Duwayne, 13, died in hospital.

The trial continues.

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