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Third person remanded over deaths of four children in house fire

The children’s mother, Michelle Pearson, 35, is in a coma fighting for her life and is unaware four of her children are dead.

A third person has appeared in court charged with the murders of four children in a house fire.

Demi Pearson, 15, her eight-year-old brother Brandon and seven-year-old sister Lacie died in the blaze in Worsley, Greater Manchester, on Monday.

Their sibling, three-year-old Lia, died on Wednesday after being rushed to hospital in a critical condition.

On Thursday, David Worrall, 25, was taken from custody to Manchester Magistrates’ Court, where he was accused of four counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder and one count of arson with intent to endanger life.

In a two-minute hearing, he spoke only to give his name, date of birth, nationality and that he was of no fixed address.

Worrall was further remanded until Friday when he will appear in the dock at Manchester Crown Court alongside co-defendants Zak Bolland, 23, of Blackleach Drive, Walkden, and Courtney Brierley, 20, of Worsley Avenue, Walkden, who face the same charges.

Bolland and Brierley were due to appear at Manchester Crown Court on Thursday but their hearing was postponed after “practical difficulties” in setting up a scheduled prison videolink.

Judge David Stockdale QC, the Honorary Recorder of Manchester, said it was “entirely sensible” to deal with all three defendants together as he ordered them to be produced to court for 9.45am.

The children’s mother, Michelle Pearson, 35, is in a coma fighting for her life and is unaware four of her children are dead.

Emergency services were called to the family’s mid-terraced home in Jackson Street, Walkden, shortly after 5am on Monday. Two 16-year-old boys were also in the house when the blaze broke out but managed to escape before fire crews arrived.

Ms Pearson’s brother has launched a fundraising campaign to pay towards the funeral for the four children.

Writing on the gofundme website, Matt Pearson said: “I am Michelle’s brother and uncle of the kids, I want to give these kids the best funeral they deserve with customised coffins for them.

“Lia loved Peppa Pig. She had all the toys and watched it non-stop every day, it would be nice to get her this coffin. A horse and carriage to take them to the cemetery. They will all be buried together side by side.”

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