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Mick Philpott Sentenced To At Least 15 Years For Deaths Of 6 Children

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LONDON -- A judge sentenced the father of six British children who died in a house fire to life, with a minimum of 15 years in prison, describing him Thursday as the "driving force" behind setting the blaze.

Judge Kathryn Thirlwall leveled most of the responsibility for the fire on Mick Philpott, describing him as a dangerous man. His wife, Mairead, and family friend Paul Mosley each received 17 years for manslaughter.

Prosecutors say the couple hatched a plan to start a gasoline-fueled fire and then rescue the children, pinning blame on Philpott's mistress so he could gain advantage in their child custody battle.

But the plot quickly went wrong, because the fire was far bigger than expected and the father was unable to smash a window to get in. Five of the children – aged between 5 and 13 – died at the scene, while the sixth died later in a hospital.

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