UK

Derby House Fire: Mairead Philpott Says It's 'Possible' Her Husband Started Blaze

19/03/2013 15:25 GMT | Updated 19/03/2013 15:36 GMT

A mother accused of killing her six children in a house fire has told a court it was "possible" that her husband got out of bed to start the blaze.

Mairead Philpott told jurors she did not know who had set the fire at her home because she was asleep at the time it started.

During the second day of her evidence at Nottingham Crown Court, Mrs Philpott also denied "working together as a team" with her husband Mick to cover up their alleged involvement in the fire.

Mrs Philpott, 31, Mick Philpott, 56, and their friend Paul Mosley, 46, all deny the manslaughter of the six children who died in the fire in Victory Road, Derby.

mairead philpott

Mairead Philpott in court with her husband, Mick (left), and Paul Mosley (right)

Asked by prosecutor Richard Latham QC whether she was suggesting that her husband had got out of bed shortly before the fire in the early hours of 11 May last year, Mrs Philpott replied: "It's possible, I don't know because I was asleep."

Mr Latham then asked Mrs Philpott: "Are you saying that there is a possibility that your husband set this fire behind your back literally?"

Mrs Philpott replied: "I honestly don't know.

"I can't rule out anybody - I just don't know who set the fire."

During her second day of testimony, Mrs Philpott insisted that covert recordings made of conversations after the fire in which she discussed "sticking with the story" were references to her having sex with Mosley.

Mr Latham put it to Mrs Philpott that she and her husband had been talking about the allegation that they were responsible for the fire.

But she told the jury that the phrase "sticking with the story" was a reference to not telling anyone about the sexual activity with Mosley.

"It was about the sex," she told the court. "I didn't want to be disgraced in the papers. My children had just died - I was more bothered about my children."

During Mr Latham's cross-examination, Mrs Philpott accepted that she had been a "fully-functioning participant" in the conversations covertly recorded by the police following the fire.

But she denied that they showed "deviousness" on the part of her and her husband.

Responding to Mr Latham's claim that she was not "hysterical" during a 999 call on the morning of the fire, Mrs Philpott added: "I was panicking, I just wanted to get to my children - I didn't know what was happening."

The trial continues.

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