The parents of the six children killed in an arson attack on a house in Derby last Friday addressed the public today to thank them for their "overwhelming support."
Facing the media just five days after the fire in Allenton, Mick Philpott paid a heartfelt thanks to the emergency services and the many local people who attempted to save the lives of his six young children.
Five-year-old Jayden, six-year-old Jessie, seven-year-old Jack, nine-year-old John and ten-year-old Jade died last Friday after their house was engulfed by a fire as they slept in their beds. Thirteen-year-old Duwayne later died of his injuries in hospital.
Police said today they believe the six children were killed in an arson attack, after petrol was poured through the letter box of their home. Rupert Evelyn reports from Derby.
Mairead and Mick broke down in tears several times during the press conference. Mairead Philpott rarely looked up from her handkerchief and did not speak during the short appearance.
Assistant chief constable of Derbyshire Police, Steve Cotterill, said the seat of the fire was near the letterbox at the front of the house. He said the police investigation showed that someone had poured petrol through the letterbox, and ignited the fatal fire.
Although the motive for the arson is not yet known, Mr Cotterill said it was common knowledge in the local community that Mr and Mrs Philpott and their children lived at the property.
Whoever was responsible for the fire should examine their conscience and hand themselves in to the authorities, Mr Cotterill said.
The investigation is progressing very well and we are continuing with our examination of the scene.
The seat of the fire was inside the front door below the letterbox and there is a clear indication that petrol was used as an accelerant to set the fire.
Mr Cotterill thanked members of the public who have come forward to help with the investigation so far. He made a fresh appeal:
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.
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.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Derbyshire Police on 101 or the Crimestoppers service on 0800 555 111