Man accused over family fire deaths threatened to ‘kill ’em all’, court told
Zak Bolland made the threat around four hours before he petrol-bombed the house in Greater Manchester, the murder trial heard.
A man warned a family he would “kill ’em all” hours before four children died in an arson attack, a court has heard.
Witness Bobby Harris told the jury Zak Bolland, 23, made the threat around four hours before he returned and petrol-bombed the house in Jackson Street, Walkden, Greater Manchester.
Demi Pearson, 15, her brother Brandon, eight, and sister Lacie, seven – all sleeping in a front bedroom – died in the blaze, which was started at around 5am on December 11.
Their mother, Michelle Pearson, 35, was rescued with her youngest daughter Lia, three, who died in hospital two days later.
Kyle Pearson, who had been feuding with Bolland, managed to escape with Mr Harris, 17, who was also staying at the house.
Bolland and David Worrall, 25, removed a fence panel from the garden of the Pearsons’ home, smashed a kitchen window and tossed in two lit petrol bombs, it is alleged.
One landed near the stairs, blocking the only exit to the ground floor and trapping the victims upstairs as flames engulfed the three-bedroom mid-terrace house.
Bolland, Worrall, and Bolland’s girlfriend Courtney Brierley, 20, deny four counts of murder.
On the third day of the trial, Mr Harris told the jury he was woken by Bolland who was outside the house at about half past midnight on December 11.
Bolland and Worrall banged on the door of the house, with Bolland, who lived nearby, making threats and warning he would be back.
Paul Reid QC, prosecuting, asked the witness: “Did he say what he was going to do?”
Mr Harris replied: “He was going to kill ’em all.”
Mr Reid continued: “At the time, did you take that seriously?”
Mr Harris replied: “Nah.”
Police were called and Michelle Pearson, described as “fed up” and “angry” due to the ongoing trouble involving her son and her house, gave a statement to officers.
Officers left in the early hours and Mr Harris and Kyle Pearson went back to sleep in bunkbeds in an upstairs bedroom.
Two hours later Mr Harris said he was woken by his friend at 5am as flames engulfed the house.
Mr Harris said: “First thing I noticed was smoke. I could feel heat.
“I jumped out of bed and headed towards the window. Smoke filling up the room.”
Kyle Pearson climbed through the window and Mr Harris climbed out after him, and seconds later the window was blown out of the house.
When he looked up at the bedroom the bunk beds were on fire, the court heard.
Mr Harris was treated for smoke inhalation.
Bolland, Worrall and Brierley also deny three counts of attempted murder relating to Michelle Pearson, Kyle Pearson and Mr Harris.
Bolland has admitted reckless arson, a charge denied by the other two.
Earlier the court heard the firebombing was the culmination of a series of tit-for-tat attacks between Bolland and Kyle Pearson over damage to the defendant’s car which led to the “petty feud”.
Bolland and Worrall went to a garage with a fuel can, buying £1.50 of petrol before filling two glass bottles to use in the attack.
Mrs Pearson is still seriously ill in hospital.
The trial continues.