Father's emotional statement after fire deaths

Father Mick Philpott and his wife Mairead at today's news conference.
Father Mick Philpott and his wife Mairead at today's news conference. Photo: Press Association

The father of six siblings who lost their lives in a suspected arson attack broke down in tears today as he issued a statement thanking fire crews and neighbours for their efforts to save his children.

Speaking at a news conference just five days after the fatal fire in Allenton, Derby, Mick Philpott said his 13-year-old son Duwayne's organs had been donated to save the life of another child.

Flanked by his wife Mairead, who was also distraught during the five-minute news conference, Mr Philpott also thanked members of the local community for their "overwhelming" support since the tragedy.

Mr Philpott said: "We grew up in a community that's been through a lot of problems with violence and to see this community come together like it has, it's too overwhelming."Those poor gentlemen from the fire brigade, who saw what we saw - my heart goes out to them."

During the news conference, the Assistant Chief Constable of Derbyshire Police, Steve Cotterill, confirmed that the seat of the fire was below the letterbox in the front door of the the house and investigations had shown petrol was used as an accelerant.

I would ask people to continue helping us with our investigation by checking the area they live for signs of discarded containers which may have contained petrol.

Please check your gardens or any hedges in your street and call us if you find anything you believe could have stored petrol.

I am also appealing for forecourt staff to come forward if they can recall selling petrol in a container to anyone in the days leading up to the fire.

– Assistant Chief Constable of Derbyshire Police, Steve Cotterill

Jade Philpott, 10, and brothers John, nine, Jack, seven, Jessie, six, and Jayden, five, all perished in the blaze, while Duwayne Philpott died of his injuries in Birmingham Children's Hospital at the weekend with his parents at his bedside.

The scene of the fire in Derby.
The scene of the fire in Derby. Credit: Reuters

The six children, who all died from the effects of smoke, were asleep in their beds upstairs when the blaze broke out at the semi-detached house in the early hours last Friday.

Mr Philpott, speaking at Derby Conference Centre, frequently dabbed away tears with a tissue as he thanked the emergency services.

Disclosing that Duwayne's organs had been donated to help another child, the devastated father said: "That makes us happy and it takes a bit of the pain away."

The Derby Telegraph is reporting the funeral of the six children will be held at Derby Cathedral.