House Fire Family Agree To End Child’s Life
The family who lost five children in a house fire have agreed to turn off the life-support machine today for a sixth child, police have said.
Thirteen-year-old Duwayne Philpott has been in a critical condition in a hospital in Birmingham since Friday morning when the blaze broke out.
Sky reporter Becky Johnson, who is at the hospital, said: “It’s desperately sad news from the family, confirmed by Derbyshire Police.
“Duwayne was pulled from the first floor of the house that was filled with thick black smoke by the time emergency services arrived.
“His family, who have been at his bedside, have now made that agonising decision to switch off his life-support machine.”
Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cotterill, of Derbyshire Police, said: “Mr and Mrs Philpott remain at their son’s bedside and my thoughts are with them at this distressing time.”
Police have suggested someone could be protecting the killer of Duwayne’s five siblings who died when their house caught fire as they slept.
Jade Philpott, 10, John, nine, Jack, seven, Jessie, six and five-year-old Jaydon all died when the blaze ripped through their home in Allenton, Derby.
A 38-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman who had been arrested on suspicion of murder following the fatal fire were released without charge on Saturday.
Asst Chief Con Cotterill said: “This is a complex inquiry which requires careful and methodical investigation. We are still treating the fire as suspicious and are pursuing a number of lines of inquiry.”
He thanked the members of the community who had come forward with information but expressed surprise that so few had been in touch.
“I strongly suspect that there is someone out there in the community who knows more than we are being told,” he said. “I fully understand that people may be reluctant to talk to us.
“My plea in this case is to remember that we are trying to find out exactly what caused the death of these five young children, who had everything to look forward to in life.
“If someone has confided in you, now is the time to speak up and do the right thing.”
The children were asleep in their beds upstairs when the fire broke out. Their father, Mick Philpott was downstairs at the time and tried to get through the smoke and flames to save them.
Mr Philpott is said to have fathered 17 children and hit national headlines several years ago when he demanded a larger house to share with his wife Mairead, girlfriend Lia and their children.
People from the estate have set up an online charity to help the family pay funeral costs and cover other expenses they may now face.
Bobby Sutherland, who has lived on the estate all his life, said he felt inspired to create the charity Catch Me When I Fall.
He said: “I said to my missus, ‘They’re going to have to pay about 10 grand when they get home,’ and I said that ain’t right. So I said, ‘I want to set up a charity’.”
He added: “The original statement was about the kids. Everybody’s got kids, everybody wants kids or everybody’s had kids, so it affects everybody.”
Mr Sutherland said many people had their own judgment about Mr Philpott, but he loved his children desperately.
A special church service was held for the children at St George’s Roman Catholic Church on Saturday morning and five candles were lit in their memory.
Father Alan Burbidge, who knew the family well, said: “I knew him (Mr Philpott) to be a good, caring family man. He looked after his children well; he was devoted to his children even though he’d got so many.
“He was there for them and also did the cooking as well at the house. He had a good garden for them with a trampoline and a sort of climbing frame. He was very good with the children.”
Flowers, toys and cards have been mounting outside the house as police and forensic teams continue to work to establish the cause of the blaze.