World

British father gets life sentence for house fire that killed 6 children

In this May 16, 2012 file photo, Mick Philpott, right, and wife Mairead react during a news conference at Derby Conference Centre following a fire at their home  which claimed the lives of six of his children, Derby, England. A judge sentenced the Mick Philpott father of six children who died in a house fire to a minimum of 15 years in prison Thursday April 4, 2013, after describing him as the driving force behind the blaze.

In this May 16, 2012 file photo, Mick Philpott, right, and wife Mairead react during a news conference at Derby Conference Centre following a fire at their home which claimed the lives of six of his children, Derby, England. A judge sentenced the Mick Philpott father of six children who died in a house fire to a minimum of 15 years in prison Thursday April 4, 2013, after describing him as the driving force behind the blaze.  (AP/PA/File)

A judge has 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 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.

The plan went wrong within minutes, because the fire was far bigger than expected and the father was unable to smash a window to get in.