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Ann Widdecombe welcomes life sentence for Philpott

Catholic former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe has told Premier the welfare state doesn't produce 'wicked' men like Mick Philpott.

Philpott, 56, who's been jailed for life today for killing six of his children in a house fire in Derby, claimed thousands of pounds in benefits. He will serve a minimum term of 15 years. His wife Mairead, 32, and their friend Paul Mosley, 46, have also been jailed for 17 years, but the judge says they will serve half their sentences. The Chancellor, George Osborne, is questioning why taxpayers should fund the lifestyles of people like the Philpotts.

Mr Osborne, who visited Derby today, took the unusual step of commenting on a criminal case. 

He said:

"I think there is a question for Government and for society about the welfare state and the taxpayers who pay for the welfare state subsidising lifestyles like that.

"And I think that debate needs to be had."

However, despite welcoming today's prison sentences, Miss Widdecombe tells Premier's Holly Powell-Jones a debate about the welfare state is irrelevant in this case. 

Yesterday, a judge found the trio guilty of six counts of manslaughter - one for each of the victims.  The trial heard how Philpott set fire to his house in Derby to try to frame his ex-mistress, Lisa Willis, who he was in a custody battle with.

Jade Philpott, 10, John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, and Jayden, five, died on the morning of the fire on May 11th, 2012.

Mairead Philpott's son from a previous relationship, 13-year-old Duwayne, died later in hospital. Mrs Justice Thirlwall told Philpott he was "the driving force behind this shockingly dangerous enterprise" saying the children were subjected to a terrifying ordeal. She told Philpott that he had "no moral compass". The judge told 32 year-old Mairead Philpott she had been treated "as a skivvy or a slave" by her husband and that it became clear during the trial she was prepared to go to any lengths, however humiliating, to keep him happy. Referring to 46 year-old Mosley the judge said he had "nothing to do" with the children, yet was prepared to go along with the plan and to join in with it to please Philpott.

When the sentences were handed down there were shouts of "die Mick die" from the public gallery.

As she left court, Mick Philpott's sister Dawn Bestwick said:

"Just rest in peace all of the children, victory today, they've gone down."

Speaking after the sentencing of the three, Detective Superintendent Kate Meynell, the senior investigating officer in the case, 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 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."

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