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A family have paid tribute to a mother who died from her injuries after her home was petrol bombed in Salford in 2017 by two men who have today been jailed for a combined 77 years.
Zak Bolland (23/08/1994) of Blackleach Drive, Worsley, and David Worrall (15/04/1992) of Worsley Avenue, Worsley, have today, (Wednesday 21 April 2021), been jailed for a combined 77 years after they were found guilty of the murder 37-year-old Michelle Pearson who was left in hospital in intensive care until March 2019 following a fire at her home which also killed four of her children. Courtney Brierley (25/07/1997), of Worsley Avenue, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Michelle Pearson and was today sentenced to 12 years in jail.
Eight-year-old Brandon Pearson, 15-year-old Demi Pearson and seven-year-old Lacie Pearson were sadly killed in the fire on Monday 11 December 2017 after police were called shortly before 5am to a report of a house fire on Jackson Street in Walkden. Three-year-old Lia was also in the fire and died in hospital two days later.
On arrival to the incident, officers were confronted by a ferocious house fire which left firefighters battling to get the fire under control to rescue those inside.
Bolland and Worrall were jailed for life after they were found guilty of the murder of the children back in 2018. Bolland was also found guilty of the attempted murder of their mum, Michelle Pearson, and their 16-year-old brother Kyle Pearson and his 16-year-old friend.
During the trial in March this year, the court heard how Bolland, Worrall and Courtney Brierley (25/07/1997), of Worsley Avenue, made homemade petrol bombs in the kitchen of a nearby address.
Brierley then waited in a nearby car while Bolland and Worrall smashed through the kitchen window of the Pearson’s home and threw homemade petrol bombs into the kitchen and living room.
This left no possibility of escape for the children or their mother as the house was immediately engulfed in flames.
Bolland was sentenced to 40 years and Worrall was sentenced to 37 years at Manchester Crown Square Court today after being found guilty of murder. Brierley was sentenced to 12 years after pleading guilty to manslaughter.
Michelle received extensive treatment for her horrific injuries and was told about the deaths of four of her six children whilst in hospital. Sadly, she died on 25 August 2019.
In a statement, the family said: "We are still trying to come to terms with how cruelly they were taken away from us, a whole family has been torn apart and destroyed in one night. Nothing will ever bring them back and my family will never be the same again.
"Losing Michelle and the children is still very raw, and we are all still struggling to come to terms with losing them especially the way they died in such a horrific way.
"It is hard enough to lose one person that you love through being deliberately and cruelly taken away from you but to lose five is unbearable.
"The sentences that have been given will never be enough, no amount of time will ever be enough, we have lost not only my four beautiful grandchildren but my amazing daughter.
"Michelle and the children filled a massive place in all our hearts and our family will never be the same ever again. We are all utterly heartbroken and forever will be.
"Michelle had so much more to give to this world, and the children had a full life ahead of them."
Detective Chief Inspector Cheryl Chatterton, from GMP's Major Investigation Team, said: "This was a heartbreaking case and I'm glad that the trio have now faced justice for the devastating death of Michelle too - 20 months on.
"The bravery shown by the family and those affected has been outstanding - they have shown so much strength throughout both of our investigations.
"Bolland and Worrall planned the attack and travelled to the address with Brierley where the two men threw their handmade petrol bombs inside.
"That night in 2017 rocked the community and has turned the family's life upside down. All of our thoughts are with the family who have been through such a difficult time and have had to sit through two trials and listen to details on what was a horrific and planned attack.
"Nothing can bring Michelle and the children back but I hope they can now be given time to grieve and come to terms with what has happened."