| 10.9°C Belfast

Grandmother’s lament for ‘lovely, quiet, happy go lucky children’

Demi, 15, her brother, Brandon, eight, sister, Lacie, seven, all were killed in the blaze while Lia, three, died in hospital.


Undated handout video still from the Fire Service issued by Greater Manchester Police of the property ablaze (GMP/PA)

Undated handout video still from the Fire Service issued by Greater Manchester Police of the property ablaze (GMP/PA)

Undated handout video still from the Fire Service issued by Greater Manchester Police of the property ablaze (GMP/PA)

This a pooled interview with Sandra Lever, the mother of Michelle Pearson whose home was attacked.

– What were the children like?

“They were lovely, quiet children, happy go lucky, they all had their own view what to do with life when they were older.

“Demi just wanted to go to college. Brandon, he also liked architecture, he always wanted to build a big house for his mum when he was 18.


Demi Pearson, 15, wanted to go to college (GMP/PA)

Demi Pearson, 15, wanted to go to college (GMP/PA)

Press Association Images

Demi Pearson, 15, wanted to go to college (GMP/PA)

“He would say, we will go there with Demi and Lia and Lacie.

“And he loved his flowers, he always picked daisies up and give everybody a flower, he was such a loving child.

“Lacie was always dancing, Lia was still a baby, she just used to copy Lacie.”

– It happened just before Christmas?

“Yes, I’ve still got all the kids’ presents in the wardrobe.”

– What’s it been like for you?

“Horrible, because it was my granddaughter Lacie’s birthday on the first of December so she managed to have her birthday out of the way and, Michelle, it was her birthday on the 23rd and she spent it in hospital.”

– How did you find out?

“I was at home, I got a phone call of Michelle at 11 o’clock at night because she always used to phone me of a night time, just the usual chat, how are you, she had taken the kids to the park that day, it had been snowing that day and Lacie was in the garden.

“She said ‘I’ve got to go to bed now because I’ve got to up with the kids in the morning’.

“I said ‘phone me up when you get back from school’ and that was the last I heard of them.”


Forensic officers at the scene of the fire (Peter Byrne/PA)

Forensic officers at the scene of the fire (Peter Byrne/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Forensic officers at the scene of the fire (Peter Byrne/PA)

“I didn’t find out until quarter to eight that day, a neighbour came knocking at my door…she said is this your Michelle’s house? It was all over multi-media.

“We made a few phone calls.

“Three fatalities, that’s all we heard. Not sure who because there was six in the house that night.

“So we didn’t know who passed away and we were praying, ‘Oh, not the kids, not the kids’.”

– Did you know Michelle was having problems? Had she expressed fears about the house and being attacked?

“Yes. We all knew. She phoned me, she said she was on the way to the housing, it was raining, I said, ‘How you getting there?’ she said, ‘I’m going to walk.’

“She phoned me on the way back and she said they said, ‘I’m not in danger, go back home’.” (Seven days before the fire).

– How did Michelle find out about her children?

“We did mention it a few times in hospital but because she is in and out of a coma and things like that she didn’t remember.

“Then when she finally came off the medication they told her again, she broke down crying then like a week later she said, ‘Next time you come, bring the baby up with you’.


Brandon, Lacie and Lia Pearson (GMP/PA)

Brandon, Lacie and Lia Pearson (GMP/PA)

Press Association Images

Brandon, Lacie and Lia Pearson (GMP/PA)

“She will be in denial with it for a long while. She has accepted it now, she knows what’s happened now, she’s accepted it.”

– What about funeral arrangements?

“She does want to go to the funeral when she comes out.”

– Given she complained and five times she went to the police before the fire and social services were told, do you feel let down by the police?

“I don’t know who to blame really. I’d say all of them, the police, social services, the council because they were all involved, they all knew about it and they all done nothing about it.

“They dropped the charges, I don’t know why.”

– Did you know Zak Bolland?


– Did he have a reputation?

“No because my daughter used to go around with him years ago, grew up with them from school.”

– What do you make of the defendants?
“For them to do a thing like that is just…

“You don’t go around terrorising a woman with six kids who lives on her own.

“What people do that? Three people do that, two grown men and a woman.

“You don’t terrorise a woman with six kids, not doing what they have done anyway.

“They are bullies, they’ve been well known to do it a few times, because we’ve heard loads of stories about them now.

“It was just a stupid argument, with kids arguing, that’s all it was basically.

“My grandson was 16 at the time, he’s 20-odd Zak Bolland.”

– How hard has the last six months been?

“It’s hard, you just try to take every day at a time. We miss them so much, we still cry every day for them, we still talk to them in the house, their pictures are up and we talk to them, just miss everything about them.”

– They have all been convicted today?

“I’m glad Michelle’s got justice, it’s more for my daughter, she’s got no children to come home to so she will be glad what they’ve got. We can’t get to see our family, why should they get to see their family?

“I’m happy we’ve got justice.”

– Are you angry she was not moved from her house?

“Yes I am angry because all she wanted to do was move, start a fresh life and the kids was growing up and move from the estate. I think they just worn her down to the ground, wake her up at one o’clock in the morning, constantly banging on the door, she had to get up early with the kids the next day, she was absolutely drained with it all.”

– They were in her house every day, every day since the baby (Lia) was born.

“He bullied her boyfriend, Paul, he passed away with cancer. He’s bullied him when he had cancer.

– How?

“Terrorising him, smashing his windows in his car. Argument again. He’s just a bully.”

– How is Kyle coping?

“He is struggling him, a bit yes.”

– Does he feel any responsibility?

“No nothing to do with Kyle, nothing at all.”