Mick Philpott (born 1956) is a British man convicted of killing six of his children in an arson attack in an attempt to keep custody of five other children, alongside his wife Mairead Philpott and his friend Paul Mosley. Prior to the fire he had been well-known for his many children and benefits scrounging and had been known as "Shameless Mick". He has been diagnosed as a psychopath by psychologist Glenn Wilson.
Criminal history and domestic abuse
Philpott had a history of violence against women; in 1978 he was sentenced to seven years in prison for attempted murder after stabbing his girlfriend Kim Hill and her mother. Before this he had allegedly shot at her with a crossbow and smashed her kneecap with a hammer. He had also been convicted of assault after headbutting a colleague, receiving a conditional discharge. After marrying Mairead Duffy, he was arrested and cautioned for slapping her and dragging her outside by her hair in a fit of rage.
Although married to Mairead, Philpott engaged in affairs with several other women, including Lisa Willis, his live-in mistress. He was reportedly very controlling, emotionally abusive and often violent, wanting to control everything about their lives. He and Paul Mosely would often have threesomes with Willis, over which Mairead feared to leave him. He also frequently engaged in "dogging" (watching other people having sex in their cars).
A week before he killed his family, Philpott was arrested after crashing into another motorist's vehicle and punching him in the face. He pleaded guilty to assault but denied reckless driving, for which he was bailed and was awaiting trial.
Eventually Lisa Willis decided to leave Philpott and filed for custody of five children they had had together. Refusing to lose control of his children, Philpott, together with his wife and Mosely, concocted a plan to burn down his house and frame Willis, getting a new council house in the process. On 11 May 2012, Philpott, Mairead and Mosely poured petrol through the letterbox and set it alight. However, Philpott's six children by Mairead were sleeping upstairs at the time. Philpott called 999 and made token efforts to save them, but five of them died at the scene and a sixth, Duwayne Philpott, died in hospital two days later.
On 14 May police announced a criminal investigation after petrol was found at the scene. At first it appeared Philpott's plan was working as Lisa Willis was arrested; however she was soon released due to lack of evidence. Meanwhile, behaviour analysts reviewing footage of the Philpott's televised press conference noticed that Mick Philpott's body language did not tally with what they would expect from someone who lost his children; for example he blinked more times per minute than normal, a sign of lying as he appeared to be trying to blink away non-existent tears.
Philpott was now the police's prime suspect, and they bugged the hotel room he and Mairead were being temporarily housed in. The audio recording appeared to show the Philpotts talking about starting the fire; of particular note was Mick Philpott saying to his wife that "I'm proud of you, because you didn't want to do it [start the fire]". The recording also appeared to suggest that Mosley was involved. All three were arrested, and traces of petrol were found on their clothes.
The Philpotts and Mosley were all charged with murder, but the charge was later downgraded to manslaughter because there was no evidence they had intended for the children to die. All three were convicted on all six counts, and Philpott received life imprisonment. He will serve a minimum of fifteen years before being considered for release.