Philpott overheard saying witness would 'drop us in it', court hears

A father accused of killing his six children was overheard on the phone saying someone being interviewed by police was going to "drop us in it", a court has heard.

Philpott overheard saying witness would 'drop us in it', court hears

A father accused of killing his six children was overheard on the phone saying someone being interviewed by police was going to "drop us in it", a court has heard.

Mick Philpott, 56, was allegedly heard making the comments on the phone days after the house fire in which his six young children were killed as they slept in their beds.

At his manslaughter trial at Nottingham Crown Court, Claire Tyler, who worked with Philpott's wife and co-accused Mairead at the Royal Derby Hospital, told jurors she heard his side of the conversation.

"I heard him say he has not got the story right," Ms Tyler said.

Prosecutor Richard Latham QC asked her: "When he said he has not got the story right, did he say what the consequence was going to be?"

"He's going to drop us in it," she replied.

"He has not got the story right. He's going to drop either us or me in it. You heard him say that on the phone?" Mr Latham asked.

"Yes."

In cross-examination, Anthony Orchard QC, defending Philpott, suggested to Ms Tyler that she only heard one side of the conversation, that she did not know who Philpott was talking about, she had not made any notes of what exactly he had said, and that the man he was said to be talking about had nothing to do with this case.

Ms Tyler, who had known Mairead Philpott for around seven years when they worked together as hospital cleaners, agreed with Mr Orchard's submission.

She was giving evidence at the trial in which Philpott and his 31-year-old wife are accused of the manslaughter of their six children. A third defendant, 46-year-old Paul Mosley, also stands accused of the same charges.

Jade, 10, and her brothers John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, Jayden, five, and Duwayne, 13, all perished after a fire which engulfed their home in Victory Road, Allenton, Derby, in the early hours of May 11 last year.

All three defendants have denied the charges.

Ms Tyler also told the court about an incident in 2011 when Mrs Philpott asked for some time off work because she was pregnant and looking to go to the doctor for a termination.

Shaun Smith QC, Mrs Philpott's barrister, asked Ms Tyler: "It's the case, isn't it, that she had had sex with another man and the child was a result of that?

"And that was when Mick was there, that she had had sex with another man?"

"Yes," Ms Tyler replied.

She also said that when Mrs Philpott was at work she was bubbly and very talkative, but when her husband would come and pick her up from work her personality changed and she became very subdued.

Ms Tyler also told the court Mrs Philpott had told her about her triangular relationship at home.

Mrs Philpott and her husband lived at the property in Victory Road along with Lisa Willis, 29, who was Philpott's mistress.

A total of 11 children also lived there - six were those of Mr and Mrs Philpott, four were Miss Willis's who were fathered by Philpott, and one child was Miss Willis's from a previous relationship.

Ms Tyler said Mrs Philpott told her when Miss Willis left the family home with her five children in February, and the effect it was having.

"She was getting blamed for Lisa going," she said.

"Blamed by?" Mr Latham asked.

"Her husband," Ms Tyler answered.

The court heard that Mrs Philpott was taken into hospital about a month before the fire after she had taken an overdose of pills.

Ms Tyler went to visit her, she said, and found Mrs Philpott in a hospital bed with her husband in the room with her.

Ms Tyler said she and some other friends asked her why she had done it but Mrs Philpott did not reply.

"She didn't answer, Mick answered for her," she said.

"He said she did it because she loved them kids."

Ms Tyler said Mrs Philpott was "bubbly" and "very talkative" at work.

"She loved her job," she said. "She saw it as a break to get away from her home life and children."

As soon as her husband would pick her up at work and she got into the van, her mood would change "instantly", Ms Tyler said, and she would become subdued and even agitated.

She saw Mrs Philpott and her husband at the hospital on a number of occasions after the children had died.

Mrs Philpott was "very upset", she said, while Philpott seemed "just normal".

Mrs Philpott did not have any money on her at work apart from a tub of small change she kept in her locker, jurors heard.

It was out of this that she would use money to join in with her colleagues when they played the National Lottery.

When the staff won small amounts of money, Mrs Philpott's share would be taken by her husband, Ms Tyler said.

Miss Willis's sister Amanda Cousins told the court in evidence that Miss Willis and the children stayed with her after she had left Philpott.

"She was in a big mess. I did not know the half of what she had been through, she was just crying all the time," she said.

Mrs Cousins said the full story of why her sister had decided to leave came out in "bits and pieces".

She told jurors Philpott had turned up at her home in his minibus with his wife and four of the children a few weeks after Miss Willis went to stay there.

The court heard Mrs Cousins and her husband had a confrontation with Philpott.

"He told me to watch my back," she said. "He was going to have me done over in Derby when I was in the nightclub."

Two 999 recordings were played to the court that were made as a result of the incident - one made by Mrs Cousins and one made by Philpott.

He sat in the dock crying and wiping his eyes with a tissue as jurors heard him saying to a call handler in the recording of the call he made: "I've got some trouble, my ex-partner is refusing to let me see my kids."

He also turned round in the dock to look at his wife, who sat listening with her hand held to her mouth and her head down.

Jurors heard Mrs Cousins say to the operator in the separate call she made: "My sister's ex-partner's turned up, he's not allowed to see any of us."

The trial was adjourned for the day and will resume on Tuesday.

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