Couple sentenced for deadly fire

April 4, 2013 at 6:04 PM

NOTTINGHAM, England, April 4 (UPI) -- A British judge told Mick Philpott he has "no moral compass" as she sentenced him to life in prison Thursday for setting a fire that killed six of his children.

Philpott, 56, who was convicted of six counts of manslaughter, was given a life sentence with a minimum of 15 years before release, The Guardian reported. His wife Mairead, 32, and a friend, Paul Mosley, 46, were each sentenced to 17 years and must serve at least half the time.

Judge Kate Thirlwall, who presided over the trial in Nottingham Crown Court, said Philpott, who has fathered 17 children with several women, has a long history of violence. She said he used his 1978 conviction for stabbing a woman who broke up with him to terrorize other women.

"You are a disturbingly dangerous man. Your guiding principle is what Mick Philpott wants he gets," the judge said. "You have no moral compass."

Thirlwall said Philpott did not intend the deaths of Duwayne, 13, Jade, 10, John, 9, Jack, 8, Jesse, 6, and Jayden, 5. Prosecutors said Philpott and Mairead set their house in Derby on fire in an effort to frame his ex-girlfriend, who had recently moved out.

Members of Philpott's family cheered the sentence. Shouts of "Die, Mick, die," could be heard in court.

Thirlwall said Philpott was the "kingpin" of the scheme. She told a weeping Mairead Philpott she put her husband ahead of her children.

"I accept that he treated you as a skivvy or a slave, and you were prepared to put up with that," the judge said.

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