A British couple have been taken in for questioning in the arson investigation that took the lives of their six children on May 11th.
Police have already established that the fire at the couple’s house in Allentown, Derby, was deliberate, according to The Daily Mail. It reportedly began after someone poured gasoline through the mail slot of the family’s council house, and then lighting it with either a match or a cigarette lighter.
The couple, Mick Philpott, 55, and his wife Mairead, 31, held a brief press conference five days after the devastating fire, thanking those who attempted to rescue the children from the burning home. They also thanked members of the local community for their support.
The Yorkshire Post reports that while Police have not named the suspects taken into custody, British media have identified them as the couple, because of their ages.
Five of the children Jade, 10, John, 9, Jessie, 6, and Jayden, 5, were all killed in the fire, while the oldest, Duwayne, 13, died in Birmingham Children’s Hospital of his injuries, two days after the fire.
Mick Philpott was hailed by police for “valiant” efforts trying to rescue the children, who were all sleeping in the home’s upstairs. Both parents have insisted that they were woken up by a smoke alarm, and failed attempts to save their children. The Daily Mail reports, however, that some neighbors have said the couple was not at home when the fire started.
Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cotterill stated on Tuesday, along with announcing the arrests, that he believed people with crucial information about the tragic fire have yet to come forward. He stated:
“It is absolutely vital that if you know anything you think could help us, come forward now. Do not wait any longer. It is important that we find justice for these six young children.”
Cotterill went on to say, according to The Yorkshire Post, that:
“Although the fire happened more than two weeks ago, this is a complex inquiry and it will take time for us to piece together the events from that tragic evening. I know this case has deeply affected the local community and residents want answers as to what happened and why. But I would ask them to be patient and to continue to show the excellent support they have given us to date.”