Mairead and Mick Philpott at a press conference last year
Mairead and Mick Philpott at a press conference last year

The former mistress of the man accused of starting the house fire which killed six children in Derby said she left him because he was violent towards her.

Mick Philpott, 56, his wife Mairhead, 31, and friend Paul Mosley, 46, are accused of starting the fire at the Philpotts' home on Victory Road on 11 May last year.

Mr Philpott had previously been living with both his wife and mistress Lisa Willis, 29. Mr Philpott's six children with his wife, all of whom died in the fire, lived side-by-side with the four children from his affair with Willis, and another child who was Willis's by another man.

Willis claims that, during her time in the house, Mr Philpott beat her with a 2X2 piece of wood after he disputed who had fathered her first-born child.

Speaking behind a screen at Nottingham Crown Court, Willis said that Mr Philpott "hit me on the leg, back and arms" and did so "about ten times".

She added she was "shocked and disappointed" at the outburst and that "if we had a fall-out he would bring it up again".

The witness claimed Mr Philpott once threw a cup of coffee over her, and would harass her about her whereabouts every time she left the house.

She said she was eventually forced to leave the property when it became clear Mr Philpott could not control his anger. However, she added that he was never violent towards the children and was only violent to her a few times during the 10 years they lived together.

The court previously heard how Mr Phillpott allegedly boasted about starting the fire at his home in order to frame Willis, who had left the house along with her five children on 11 February, as part of a custody battle.

'We took it in turns'

When discussing their living arrangements, Willis said Mr Philpott would alternate the nights he would sleep with her and his wife.

She said: "We took it in turns, we never had all three of us together. We would take it in turns at night so one night it would be me, one night it would be Mairead."

The court heard how Willis had met Mr Philpott when she was 17, by which time she already had one child with another man. Mr Philpott suggested she move in with his and Mrs Phipott before the couple were married.

Within weeks, the two had begun a sexual relationship and Mrs Philpott "was fine" with the arrangement.

The court had previously heard how Mrs Philpott performed a sexual act on the third defendant, Mosley, in a hotel room while her husband watched eight days after the fire.

Prosecutor Richard Latham QC told the jury: "You may conclude they were doing their best to keep Paul Mosley on side".

All three defendants deny the six separate charges of manslaughter against them.

Jade Philpott, 10, and her brothers John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six and Jayden, five, all died in the fire at their home. The eldest, Duwayne, 13, died three days later in hospital.

The trial continues.