Derby Fire Deaths: Parents Appear In Court

Lisa Dowd, Midlands correspondent
Derby Fire: Parents Won't Attend Funeral

The parents of six children killed in a fire at their Derby home have been remanded in custody after appearing in court charged with their murders.

Derbyshire Police arrested Mick Philpott, 55, and his wife Mairead, 31, on suspicion of murder on Tuesday.

A fire broke out at the defendants' home, in Victory Road, Allenton, in the early hours of May 11.

Duwayne Philpott, 13, Jade Philpott, 10, John Philpott, nine, Jack Philpott, seven, Jessie Philpott, six, and five-year-old Jayden Philpott all died as a result of the blaze.

During the 10-minute hearing at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court, two people were asked to leave after swearing from the public gallery.

They were escorted from the courtroom by a police officer.

The Philpotts, who both wore white vests, stood to confirm their names and gave their address as a Derby hotel.

Mr Philpott shook his head as the charges were read out. Mrs Philpott sat impassively.

As they were led from court Mr Philpott mouthed a word twice at officers sitting on the opposite side of the room, and Mrs Philpott blew a kiss to around 22 relatives listening to the hearing.

The couple will next appear at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday.

Earlier, a Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said: "It is important to note that the defendants are entitled to a fair trial and nothing should be said or reported that would prejudice that right."

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cotterill added that the two charges "should not be seen as the end of the investigation".

"We are determined to get to the truth of what happened and still want people to speak to us to tell us what they know about this tragedy," he said.

Police previously arrested a 38-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman on suspicion of murder shortly after the fire, but both were released without charge the following day.

Mr Philpott and his wife requested a news conference five days after the blaze to thank the firefighters who tried to save their children and local people who had been raising funds to pay for the funerals.