THREE people appeared at Manchester Crown Court today for murder charges after a house fire in Walkden claimed the lives of four children.
The case has now been adjourned until March 9, 2018, when a preparation hearing will be held – the trial will formally begin on April 30.
Zac Bolland, 22, of Blackleach Drive, Walkden, and Courtney Brierley, 20, of Worsley Avenue, Little Hulton, have each been charged with four counts of murder, four counts of attempted murder and one count of arson with attempt to danger life. David Worrall, 25, of Worsley Avenue, Worsley, faces the same charges after appearing in Manchester Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
The trial is expected to last three to four weeks.
The fire broke out at a terraced house on Jackson Street just before 5am on Monday morning – fire crews were called to tackle the blaze shortly after.
Three children were pronounced dead at the scene – they have since been named as Demi Pearson, 14, Brandon Pearson, eight, and Lacie Pearson, seven.
A fourth victim, three-year-old Lia Pearson, died on Wednesday afternoon after being rescued from the blaze.
The victims’ mother, Michelle Pearson, 35, remains in hospital having suffered severe burns from the fire.
Two people reportedly escaped the house unharmed.
Six people in total were arrested after Monday’s fire – however, three were later released on police bail.
Tributes have continued to flood in for the victims of the blaze.
Drew Povey, headteacher of Harrop Fold School in Little Hulton, which Demi attended, said: “We are all truly devastated by the loss of precious life that our community has recently suffered.
“Words seem inadequate in these tragic circumstances.
“The spirit of Salford cannot and will not be crushed – we will work together to comfort and rebuild those lives that have been forever changed.”
A crowdfunding page has also been created to support the family of the victims – it has raised over £2,900 in just two days.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 0161 856 8797 alternatively call 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.