Church service for blaze victims

First published in National News © by

A special church service is being held in memory of five young children who died after fire ripped through their home while they slept in their beds.

Ten-year-old Jade Philpott and her siblings John, nine, Jack, seven, Jessie, six, and five-year-old Jayden all perished after the blaze early on Friday at their house in Allenton, Derby.

Their 13-year-old brother Duwayne, who was also in the semi-detached property at the time of the blaze, remains in a critical condition in hospital in Birmingham.

The children's father, Mick Philpott, who was dubbed "Shameless Mick" in 2007 for his benefit claims and refusal to get a job, in a documentary by former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe, made a "valiant" attempt to save them, police said.

St George's Roman Catholic Church, where Mr Philpott and his family had been members of the congregation, will hold a special mass service as well as other services across the weekend in memory of the children and to say prayers for them.

The church is affiliated with St George's Catholic Primary School, in Littleover, where the five children who died in the fire had all attended.

A 28-year-old woman and a 38-year-old man, both from Derby, were arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with the deaths and continue to be questioned, Derbyshire Police said.

The children died after a fire broke out at their pebble-dashed home in Victory Road.

Mr Philpott, said to be the father of 17 children, hit the headlines after demanding a larger house to share with his wife, Mairead, girlfriend, Lisa, and eight children.

Post-mortem examinations will be carried out this weekend and forensic specialists are examining the house.

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