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Sentencing delayed in fatal fire case

April 3, 2013 at 12:45 PM

NOTTINGHAM, England, April 3 (UPI) -- A judge postponed sentencing Wednesday for the English couple convicted of setting a fire that killed their six children.

Mrs. Justice Kate Thirlwall, who presided over the trial in Nottingham Crown Court, said she needs more time to consider how long Mick and Mairead Philpott should spend in prison, the Daily Mirror reported.

"I want to reflect further before moving forward to the sentencing exercise," Thirlwall said, scheduling sentencing for Thursday morning.

Philpott, 56, and his 32-year-old wife were convicted Tuesday of six counts of manslaughter along with a friend, Paul Mosley. Prosecutors said the Philpotts did not intend to kill the children but set the fire to frame Philpott's ex-girlfriend, Lisa Willis, after she moved out of their home in Derby.

During Wednesday's hearing, the Philpotts' lawyers argued they were good parents.

"Despite Mr. Philpott's faults, he was a very good father and loved those children," Anthony Orchard said. "All the witnesses, even Lisa Willis, agree on this. There's no evidence at any stage that he deliberately harmed any of them."

Prosecutors cited Philpott's long violent history, including a conviction in 1978 for a vicious attack on his ex-fiancee. At the time of the fatal fire, he had been charged with punching another driver in a road rage incident.

When Orchard suggested the 1978 conviction was "a long time ago," Thirlwall responded with a question: "There's been violence in every single relationship, has there not?"

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