The parents of six children who died when their house was gutted by fire were last night charged with their murder.
Mick and Mairead Philpott were due to appear before magistrates this morning.
They face six counts of murder after prosecutors decided that pressing charges was ‘in the public interest’.
Family tragedy: Mick Philpott and his wife Mairead are charged with murdering six of their children
The couple were taken into custody on Tuesday morning – a fortnight after they broke down in tears at a press conference as officers described the incident which claimed the lives of their children.
Jade Philpott, ten, and brothers John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, and Jayden, five, all died in the fire, while older brother Duwayne, 13, succumbed to his injuries in hospital three days later.
Their father had been hailed by neighbours as a hero for ‘valiant’ attempts to rescue his children.
After two days of questioning by police, the 55-year-old father and his wife, 31, were charged. Officers had already established the blaze was deliberate, caused by petrol being ignited at the front of the family’s three-bedroom council house in Allenton, Derby.
Grief: Mick and Mairead Philpott cried at a news conference about the fire, which killed six of their children
The family in 2007, including five of the six children who died. Back row from left, Katrine and Kirk in Lisa Willis's arms, Yawery and Jayden in the arms of Mr Philpott, Jade, Jack and Jordan. Front row, from left, Shareen and Jesse with Mrs Philpott, Duwayne and John
The Crown Prosecution Service said: ‘The evidence was reviewed by a Crown Advocate from the CPS East Midlands Complex Casework Unit, who decided that there was sufficient evidence to charge and that it is in the public interest for a prosecution to take place.’
Sixth victim: Duwayne Philpott, 13, died in hospital after his life support machine was turned off
Derbyshire Police assistant chief constable Steve Cotterill, who has led the investigation, said he was hopeful that more people from the local community would now come forward with information about the fire.
‘We are determined to get to the truth of what happened and still want people to speak to us to tell us what they know about this tragedy.’
The parents were arrested together in Derby city centre at 10am on Tuesday. Yesterday, police were given an extra 12 hours to question them at separate stations.
Mr Cotterill had earlier urged members of the local community to put aside allegiances and come forward if they have any information about the fire.
‘I appreciate that it will be difficult for some people but they should put their trust in us,’ he said. ‘My appeal is do not wait any longer – come forward now.’
The children were killed in the early hours of May 11 after the fire funnelled up the stairs and smoke filled the rooms where they were sleeping.
Philpott, a father of 17 by five women, became known as ‘Shameless Mick’ in 2007 after demanding a larger house to share with his wife, his girlfriend Lisa Willis, and eight of his offspring.
Funerals for the children are being arranged, funded by more than £10,000 already raised by the local community.
The Philpotts were due to appear this morning at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court.
Respect: Well-wishers have left hundreds of cards, flowers, teddy bears and candles after a candlelit vigil
Search for clues: Police prepare to lift the caravan on to a low-loader outside the burnt-out Philpott family home in Allenton, Derby
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