Parents in UK fire deaths charged with murder

AP News
Posted: May 30, 2012 6:32 PM
Parents in UK fire deaths charged with murder

The parents of six children who died in a house fire in Britain have been charged with murder, police said Wednesday.

The children who died in the suspicious May 11 fire in the central England city of Derby ranged in age from 5 to 13. Five died immediately and one died at a hospital.

Police said that 55-year-old Michael Philpott and his 31-year-old wife Mairead have been charged with murder in relation to the blaze, which authorities said broke out after fuel was poured through the front door mail slot of the family's home.

In the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, police had praised Michael Philpott for valiantly trying to rescue his children, who were sleeping in their beds in upstairs rooms when the fire began to rage in the early hours of the morning.

Philpott has previously featured on British television in programs about his extraordinarily large family. In 2007, he hosted then-lawmaker Anne Widdicombe to live at his home for a week as she filmed a critical documentary about the country's welfare system.

He and his wife will appear before Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court on Thursday.