Fire deaths mother Mairead Philpott freed from jail after serving eight years

A mother who killed six of her children in an arson attack has been freed after serving half of her 17-year jail term.

Mairead Philpott, then aged 32, was jailed in April 2013 after being found guilty of six counts of manslaughter alongside her husband and another defendant.

Philpott, now aged 39, is understood to have been released on Friday from HMP Send in Surrey to a hostel, where she will be supervised while on licence.

Her husband Mick Philpott was jailed for life with a minimum term of 15 years after starting the fire at the couple's home in Allenton, Derby, on May 11 2012.

Jade Philpott, 10, and her brothers John, nine, Jack, eight, Jesse, six, and Jayden, five, all died in the fire, while Duwayne, 13, died in hospital three days later.

The Philpotts appeared at a news conference five days after the blaze, in which they both sobbed, while Mick expressed disbelief at the deaths and thanked fire crews.

House fire in Allenton
House fire in Allenton

A trial at Nottingham Crown Court was told Mick Philpott was the "driving force" behind the plot to start the house fire, and had intended to frame a former partner.

Passing sentence, Mrs Justice Thirlwall said that six young lives had been taken due to "callous selfishness".

The judge told Mairead, who was ordered to serve half of her sentence before release, that she believed her grief was real but she should not have put her husband first.

"These were your children; your first responsibility, surely, was to them," the judge told the court. "Instead you joined in with his plan."

Mairead later appealed against her sentence, but judges ruled the original term reflected the "immeasurable harm" she had caused.

Court of Appeal judges said petrol found on Mairead's clothes showed she had participated in setting the fire, which had not been a "spur-of-the-moment" plan.

She had also lied after her arrest, the judges said, and continued to hide the truth during her trial.

House fire in Allenton
House fire in Allenton

The Sun on Sunday reported that the killer will be offered counselling and life coaching, and is set to be given a new identity at public expense.

A spokesman for the Prison Service, which does not comment on an individual prisoner's release, said: "Offenders released on licence face strict conditions and can be returned to prison if they breach them."