Smirking Mick Philpott stuck two fingers up today after being described by a judge as a “disturbingly dangerous man” as he was sentenced to life for killing six of his children in a house fire.
“Shameless Mick”, as he was known on his estate, showed no remorse as he was jailed with a minimum 15-year term for being the “driving force” behind the plot to start the house fire to win custody of his children.
He and wife Mairead, along with Paul Mosley, were each found guilty of six counts of manslaughter on Tuesday after a trial at Nottingham Crown Court.
Judge Mrs Justice Thirlwall told him: “You are a disturbingly dangerous man. Your guiding principle is what Mick Philpott wants, Mick Philpott gets. You have no moral compass.”
Mairead, 32, and 46-year-old Mosley were both jailed for 17 years.
Later, British Chancellor George Osborne said the case highlighted the need for reform of the benefits system, as he questioned why taxpayers were funding “lifestyles like that”.
Mr Osborne, who has been leading the Government’s defence of its sweeping welfare changes, said Philpott was responsible for his “absolutely horrendous” crimes, but said there was a “question for government and for society” about the benefits that allowed Philpott to live the way he did.
However, Lord Wood, who is senior adviser to Labour leader Ed Miliband, said on Twitter: "I can't help but feel it's wrong for Osborne to exploit our horror at the Philpott case to try to boost public support for cutting welfare."
General secretary of the union Unite Len McCluskey said: "It is sickening to see George Osborne exploiting the evil of one man and the death of six children to try and demonise ordinary law-abiding people who are struggling to get by.
“He has demeaned his high office to sow hate in a desperate attempt to sell his so-called ’reforms’ which are making 11.5 million households poorer while millionaires get tax breaks averaging £100,000.
“Evil exists in all sections of society from the wealthy to the poor. You have to ask would George Osborne and the Tories be seeking to demonise the wealthy with the same vigour if Philpott had been a millionaire?”
The fatal blaze that tore through the house in Victory Road, Derby, was started by the trio in an effort to try and frame Philpott’s former mistress, Lisa Willis, after she left the family home with her five children three months earlier.
She had lived in the three-bed council house for 10 years with the Philpotts and their six children until she became unhappy and fled.
The judge said Philpott, 56, had become “obsessed” with 29-year-old Miss Willis and his plan to blame her for the fire and get his children back at a pre-scheduled court hearing on May 11 last year – the same day as the fire – was “outside the comprehension of any right thinking person”.
She added: “It was a wicked and dangerous plan.”
Members of the Philpott family, who were sitting in the public gallery, broke into applause as the judge finished sentencing.
One shouted: “Die, Mick, die.”
Another said: “See you, Mairead. Hope you enjoy life on your own.”
“Your own babies,” another called out.
Philpott, who had wiped tears from his eyes as the judge spoke to him, smiled and made an obscene hand gesture towards the public gallery as he was led out of the dock.
Philpott, his wife, and Mosley killed Jade Philpott, 10, and her brothers John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, Jayden, five, and Duwayne, 13, in the fire at their home in Allenton.
Even if the plan to rescue the children had worked and they had survived, it would have been a harrowing ordeal for them, the judge said.
“Their terror was the price they were going to pay for your callous selfishness,” she said. “In fact they paid with their six young lives. They had no chance of survival and I am quite sure that when you set that fire you were not thinking about them, because you simply did not care.
“You were going to get your own way.”
Mercifully, the children’s deaths were swift and appeared to be pain-free, she added.
Mairead, who wept as she was jailed, was another of Philpott’s “chattels”, the judge said.
She told Mairead, who will serve half of her sentence before release, that she believed her grief was real but said she should not have put her husband first.
“These were your children; your first responsibility, surely, was to them. Instead you joined in with his plan, putting his obsession with Lisa above the safety of your children.”
Mosley, who showed no emotion as he was jailed, “enjoyed the attention ... gained from your proximity to the fire”, the judge said.
Outside court, family members said justice had been done for the children.
Dawn Bestwick, Philpott’s sister, said: “Victory today. They’ve gone down.” She added that the six youngsters could now “rest in peace”.
Andy Lyons, Mosley’s brother-in-law, defended the sentence, adding: “We don’t have an eye for an eye.
“We’re not a Third World country but the sentence is the best that the judge can give and makes England the greatest nation in the world.”
Derbyshire Police said none of the defendants had shown any remorse for killing the children, an act she described as an “incredibly tragic” incident.
Senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Kate Meynell, of Derbyshire police, said: “Six innocent children died as a result of the actions of their parents, the very people who should have protected them against danger.
“The Philpotts and Paul Mosley showed no regard for the safety of the children and, since the fire, have shown no remorse for their actions.
“They have lied throughout the investigation and court case. There were plenty of opportunities to admit their guilt but they never did and persisted with their denials.
“This has been an incredibly tragic case to investigate and today’s sentences bring this difficult inquiry to a close.”