Salford house fire: Family 'dreading' telling critically ill mother about children's deaths

Michelle Pearson's family says she begged authorities to move her to safe house days before blaze which police believe was deliberately started

Chris Baynes
Saturday 16 December 2017 16:15
Salford house fire: Father of Michelle Pearson on the thought of telling his daughter her children have died

The family of a mother whose four children who died in a fire at her Salford home have said they are "dreading" telling her the "awful news" when she awakes form a coma.

Michelle Pearson's relatives said she had begged to be moved to safe house just days before the blaze at the house in Walkden, which police believe was targeted.

Three people have been charged with murdering 15-year-old Demi Pearson, her eight-year-old brother Brandon, eight, and sisters Lacie, seven, and Lia, three.

Ms Pearson, 35, remains in a critical condition and does not yet know of her children's deaths.

"This week has been a whirlwind," her family said in a statement. "We have been in our own bubble and our focus has been solely on our family, on our Michelle as she lies in her hospital bed.

"We are heartbroken at the death of our four babies. Their mum Michelle is in a critical condition. We are dreading the day we have to tell them the awful news about her babies. We hope and pray that she has the strength to pull through."

They added: "We are asking people to keep Michelle in their thoughts, she has lost her babies and it is heartbreaking but she has a loving family who will try their best to get her through this and two older sons who adore her."

Siblings Brandon, Lacie and Lia Pearson died in the house fire

Two 16-year-old boys were able to escape the family's burning home before fire crews arrived at the blaze earlier this week.

Michelle's sister, Claire Pearson said she had "been unsafe in that property for months and months and the police was aware of this, and the social services was aware of this, the council was aware of this."

She accused them of letting her sibling down.

"My sister and her kids would have had a chance of survival if they did their job properly," she said.

The children's grandfather, Mike Pearson, added: "She said she'd actually been to the housing that week and begged them to move her to a safe house or get her out of the area... they just refused - 'you're not at risk, you're not in danger'."

Paying tribute to the children, the family added: "Demi, such a beautiful young lady with so many friends. She would do anything for anyone, nothing was too much trouble. She had been poorly through her life, but she was tough and so strong, nothing could stop her. She was like another mum to the younger ones, such a star."

They described Brandon as the "next Stephen Hawking" and said he and his sister Lacie were like twins.

Demi Pearson, killed in the fire, was described as 'such a star' by her family

Matt Pearson, Michelle's sister, has launched a fundraising page to pay for the children's funerals.

"I want to give these kids the best funeral they deserve with customised coffins for them," he said, adding: "They will be buried together side by side".

Zak Bolland, 23, of Blackleach Drive, Courtney Brierley, 20, of Worsley Avenue, and David Worrall, 25, of Worsley Avenue, appeared at Manchester Crown Court on Friday morning charged with the murder of the four children.

The defendants are also accused of arson with intent to endanger life and the attempted murder of the children's mother and two juveniles, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

The three were remanded in custody ahead of a plea and trial preparation hearing on 9 March and a provisional trial date was fixed for 30 April.