Who were the Salford house fire victims, who are arsonists Zak Bolland and Courtney Brierley and what happened at the trial?


FOUR children were killed when a devastating fire ripped through a family home in Salford, leaving their mother fighting for her life in hospital.

Here’s what we know about how the violent attack took place and who has been convicted of committing the unthinkable murders of four young kids.

Zak Bolland has been found guilty of murder over the Salford house fire in which four young girls died
Zak Bolland has been found guilty of murder over the Salford house fire in which four young girls died
PA:Press Association

What happened in the Walkden arson attack?

On Monday, December 11, a mid-terraced family home went up in flames, killing siblings Demi Pearson, 14, Brandon, eight, Lacie, seven and Lia, three.

Shortly before 5am, emergency services scrambled Jackson Street, in Walkden, to reports of the house fire.

The killer was believed to have lit fires that targeted the chimney, door and ground-floor window – before setting both floors alight.

It is thought the suspect climbed the scaffolding outside the property to pour petrol down the chimney.

The arson attack took place at the Pearson family home where siblings Brandon and, Lacie lived

Seven people were believed to be in the property at the time of the blaze: the four young girls who died, the mother who was left badly injured and two teenage boys who managed to escape.

Speaking at a press conference on December 12, Chief Superintendent Miller said: “I can’t imagine what the family are going through. My heart breaks for them, it really does.”

The prosecution claimed the attack was targeted, after viewing CCTV footage taken from the area near the fire.

What happened at the trial?

Suspects Zak Bolland, 23, and David Worrall, 26, were convicted of murdering the four girls.

Bolland was given a minimum of 40 years behind bars while Worrall received a 37 year sentence.

Accomplice Courtney Brierley, 20, was found guilty of four counts of manslaughter and given 21 years in a young offenders institute.

Bolland, who lived nearby, was high on alcohol and drugs when he launched the attack, a jury heard.

Courtney Brierley was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 21 years in a young offenders institute
Courtney Brierley was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 21 years in a young offenders institute
PA:Press Association

Prosecutors told the court that he was motivated by a “petty feud” with the young victims’ brother Kyle Pearson.

He smashed the back window and threw in two petrol bombs they made with flammable liquid from a local garage.

One landed near the stairs, blocking the front door and leaving the girls trapped upstairs.

Who are Zak Bolland, David Worrall and Courtney Brierley?

Zak Bolland was one of three people who was accused of starting the fire just weeks before Christmas.

Bolland initially pleaded not guilty alongside Courtney Brierley, 20, and David Worrall, 25, on March 9.

But he changed his mind and pleaded guilty on the day his trial was due to start at Manchester Crown Court on April 30.

All three were charged with arson, murder and attempted murder by Greater Manchester Police.

David Worrall was also found guilty of murder
David Worrall was also found guilty of murder
PA:Press Association

Who were the Salford fire victims?

Although seven people were believed to have been trapped in the family home along Jackson Street, four children died.

The children have been formally identified as siblings Demi Pearson, 14, Brandon Pearson, eight, Lacie Pearson, seven.

Three-year-old Lia died in hospital two days after her home was allegedly torched. She had been critically ill since she was rushed to hospital.

The family have been fundraising for their funerals which will see them buried together side-by-side.

lacie pearson
Lacie Pearson, seven, lost her life in the blaze
demi pearson
Demi Pearson, 14, also died in the fire

Lia’s siblings Demi, 14, Lacie, seven, and her eight-year-old brother Brandon all died in the devastating blaze.

It is understood Demi was pronounced dead at the scene, but Brandon and Lacie died in hospital.

Their mum Michelle, 35, was left fighting for her life in hospital.

She was told her kids had died weeks later.

The funeral of the murdered children was held on Friday, September 14.

Hundreds of people lined the route of the funeral procession, but the children’s mother, Michelle Pearson, 36, who was badly injured in the blaze at her home in Jackson Street, Walkden, Greater Manchester, was unable to attend as she is still unwell.

The funeral procession was led by a kilted bagpipers playing a mournful lament, accompanied by drummers and followed by family and friends, walking close behind four horse-drawn carriages, each bearing a coffin.

Two white horses pulled each carriage, with the names of the child on top in flowers and a portrait photo beside each coffin.

Lia Pearson, aged just three years old, has died in the hospital.
Lia Pearson, aged just three years old, has died in the hospital.

When did Michelle Pearson come out of a coma?

The mum was kept in a coma for weeks after the fire which killed four of her children woke up the week of April 28 to learn of their deaths.

Michelle Pearson was in a coma for four months due to the extent of her injuries from the arson attack.

Greater Manchester Police told that she had woken from her coma and was making good progress despite the devastating news.

Michelle is still in intensive care due to her injuries.


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