His wife, Mairead, who plotted with him in the lethal plan to frame his ex partner was given 17 years, as was co-conspirator Paul Mosley.

The judge Mrs Justice Thirlwell told Philpott he had ‘no moral compass’ and was a ‘disturbingly dangerous man’ as she said he must serve a minimum of 15 years, reports the Daily Mail.

In response, Philpott smiled and made an obscene gesture as he was led from the dock.

She said he was the ‘driving force behind this shockingly dangerous enterprise’ and had used his conviction for attempting to murder a girlfriend in 1978 to terrify other women, adding: ‘You have repeatedly used that conviction as a means of controlling other women, terrified as to what you would do to them.’

Family members in the public gallery clapped as the judge finished. One shouted: ‘Your own babies’ to which Philpott responded with a smile and an obscene gesture.

Philpott had started the fire, planning to blame ex Lisa Willis so he could to win back custody of five children she took from the family home.The plan went disastrously wrong when the fire got out of control and six children died.

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