Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Philpott Fire

Originally posted on Facebook 31/5/12

OK Derby, I get it... We've had a pretty crappy time of it recently as far as kids being hurt and killed and feelings are running high... But some of the hate that's been pouring out of normally quite lucid people has made me wonder. I'm probably going to get pilloried for this but it's bringing to mind the old Frankenstein films with the torches and the pitchforks, and that's not a good look for anyone I know...

First of all, let's imagine that you're all right - A couple makes the concious decision to kill six of their children, by fire. If that's what happened then I hope they both burn forever in whatever portion of Hell that Satan reserves for people who commit any kind of crime against defenseless children.

Can you imagine doing that? Can you imagine looking into your own children's eyes (remember, that Jayden, the youngest, was only five years old) as you tucked them into bed, kissed them goodnight, all the time knowing that within hours you would start a fire with the sole intention of burning them alive? No, of course you can't, because you're a human being... You can maybe almost forgive the single mother who shakes her baby to death out of frustration and lack of support - But this is something so far off the scale of normal human behaviour... Unforgivable, completely - And if this is the case then I side firmly with the 'Death's too good for 'em' brigade.

But then, instead, imagine for a second that you're stuck, you're at your wits end. Maybe the bills are piling up, maybe you owe money to people at 2,476% APR, or even worse, to people who'd rather take the use of your legs away with a bat if you don't pay up. You're desperate, and you turn to crime... Not mugging old ladies, not doing over Post Offices, just a nice, quiet bit of insurance fraud. It'd be easy, take what real valuables you had to your mates house, the irreplaceable stuff.. Old photos, your Mum's jewellery, stuff like that, then just start a small fire...

Once you've tucked the kids up in bed, pour a bit of petrol by the front door, make it look like someone lit it through the letterbox. Why would the kids still be there? To make it look more believable of course - I mean, what psycho would set fire to his own house with the kids still inside? You let it burn for a while, after all there has to be some real damage. Then the fire takes hold... You never realised how fast cheap polyester carpet burns, or how difficult it is to put out, the flames spread to the stairs (all one piece of carpet, remember) and the wallpaper catches, the curtains smoulder and the poisonous smoke is filling the house. You shout for help, you yell the kids to wake them up... Maybe the smoke's already done it's work, it happens quicker than you think. You start to panic.

You try to make it up the stairs but the flames beat you back, you realise there's nothing you can do, then you hear the sirens and think everything will be OK...

But it's not, and it never will be again... How would you feel knowing it was all your fault? That through your own stupidity you'd accidentally murdered six of your own children?

Then again... What if they're telling the truth? someone HAD tried to burn down their house with them in it? And we're all so desperate for blood and spectacle that shouting 'Murderers!' is easier than thinking 'If it can happen to them, maybe it can happen to me'?

I don't have any association with the Philpotts and I know precisely as much about the case as 99.99% of other people - i.e. virtually nothing - But the above scenarios are as likely as any other one that's been made up using the freely available facts.

Rest in Peace, and I pray to God that justice is done.

By the way, when was the last time you checked the batteries in your smoke alarm?

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