Walkden fire trial: Witness breaks down recalling night of fire

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A witness today recalled feeling ‘really upset’ when she realised what had happened in the fatal house fire in Walkden in December.

Abigail Toone was said to have driven the three defendants to and from the house on Jackson Street on December 11, before the fire that killed four children.

Walkden fire

The five people caught up in the fire.

Ms Toone is not being treated as a suspect.

In video footage of police interviews shown to the jury at Manchester Crown Court, Ms Toone said she arrived at Zak Bolland’s house looking for her partner after returning from a Christmas work party.

After being unable to find him, she described how Bolland, Courtney Brierley and David Worrall were allegedly getting ‘really loud and aggressive’ and ‘kept talking about people’.

walkden fire

The aftermath of the fire

She said: ‘I just knew they were planning something.’ She claims she was ordered to ”’drive us to the petrol station.” They were getting really aggressive with me.’

After reaching the house, she said she felt ‘really scared to leave the car’ and that the male defendants were ‘really quick’.

Ms Toone later returned to her home, and when she awoke and saw news reports of the fire on social media, she said she felt ‘really upset. I didn’t know what to do.  I tried to calm myself down.’

It was when she confided in her family that she contacted the police.

At the time of writing, Ms Toone is being cross-examined by defence QC Peter Wright.


Zak Bolland, 23, Courtney Brierley, 20 and David Worrall, 26, all deny four counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder.

All three have also been charged with arson being reckless as to life being endangered, a charge accepted by Mr. Bolland and denied by Ms. Brierley and Mr. Worrall.

The trial continues.

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