Mairead (l) and Mick Philpott
Mairead (l) and Mick Philpott

Accused father Mick Philpott cracked jokes about a fatal blaze that killed six of his children within hours of the tragedy, a court has heard.

Philpott is accused of deliberately starting the fire in which the youngsters died to avenge himself on a former partner.

Nottingham Crown Court heard he was flirting with police officers at the Royal Derby Hospital where the victims were taken for treatment.

PC Joanna Halford told the jury that when she asked him why he was there because she did not recognise him, he replied: "I'm here to see you, gorgeous."

Halford said: "He was laughing and joking about the incident saying that when he was trying to rescue the children he took his chance to hit out at two coppers trying to hold him back.

"He was jovial, laughing and jolly, with the other men in there."

When Philpott allegedly made the comments, he knew that five of his children were already dead and that survivor Duwayne was fighting for his life, a battle the boy subsequently lost.

Duwayne, 13, Jade, 10, John, nine, Jack, seven, Jessie, six, and Jayden, five, all perished.

Prosecutors said the fire was started by Mick Philpott, his wife Mairead Philpott and Paul Mosley but it got out of control. All three deny manslaughter.

Witness Claire Smith said Mick Philpott's behaviour puzzled her. She told the court: "You have just lost your five children. You've got your other one in the hospital. Everyone reacts differently, but why would I want to go and talk to my friend for half an hour when my son is lying in hospital fighting for his life?" she told the Daily Mail.

His wife, on the other hand, appeared very upset at the hospital, said Smith.

"She was very distressed, like anyone would be when they've lost their children. She was very upset."

The court heard that the Philpotts had torched their own home in May because Mick Philpott wanted revenge on an ex-girlfriend who used to share the house with them but had moved out with her five children, depriving him of welfare benefits.

It emerged during the trial that police had bugged a hotel room where the Philpotts were put up after the fire.

Richard Langham QC, prosecuting, told the court that Mairead Philpott was recorded performing a sex act on co-accused Mosley in a bid to keep him "onside" in the conspiracy.

All three deny manslaughter. The trial continues.