Pair convicted of murdering mother in petrol bomb attack

Pair face years in jail after being convicted of murdering mother, 37, in petrol bomb house attack that also killed four of her children

  • Zak Bolland and David Worrall threw petrol bombs into the Pearson family home in Salford in December 2017 killing four children all aged between 15 and three
  • Mother Michelle Pearson escaped but was left with burns over 75% of her body 
  • Bolland and Worrall were convicted of murdering her four children after a trial
  • Ms Pearson died from her injuries 20 months after the fire and duo were charged with her murder which they denied but both had pleaded guilty to manslaughter 
  • A jury has now found them both guilty of murdering 37-year-old Ms Pearson after a second trial and they will be sentenced at Manchester Crown Court next month

Two men have been found guilty of murdering a mother in a petrol bomb attack that also killed four of her children.

Zak Bolland, 26, and David Worrall, 28, had both denied murdering 37-year-old Michelle Pearson.

Ms Pearson’s daughters Demi, 15, Lacie, seven, Lia, three, and her son Brandon, eight, all died in the blaze in Walkden, Salford, on December 11, 2017.

David Worrall (left) and Zak Bolland (right) have both been convicted of murdering Michelle Pearson, 37, after they threw petrol bombs into her Salford home also killing her four children

Zak Bolland, David Worrall and Courtney Brierley were jailed over the blaze after a trial in 2018

The horrific attack came after a petty feud between the attackers and the children’s older brother Kyle, 16, who escaped the flames with a friend. 

Ms Pearson was rescued from the house on Jackson Street before being placed in a coma, but passed away in August 2019 – 20 months after suffering 75 per cent burns.

Bolland was convicted of four counts of murder and three of attempted murder and was handed a minimum 40 year sentence. 

David Worrall was also convicted of four murders and three counts of attempted GBH and was handed a 37 year sentence.

A third defendant – Bolland’s then girlfriend Courtney Brierley – was found guilty of four counts of manslaughter and was jailed for 21 years. 

CCTV images captured Bolland and Worrall filling up a petrol can at a Texaco fuel station before arriving at the Pearson home in Walkden, Greater Manchester.

Michelle Pearson (pictured, right, before and, left, after) initially survived the horrific attack but was left with burns over 75 per cent of her body which she succumbed to 20 months later

Pictured: Brandon Pearson (left) and Lacie Pearson (centre) who died in a house fire in Greater Manchester, in 2017, pictured with Lia (right), who died from injuries two days later in hospital

The two men then removed a fence panel from the garden, smashed a kitchen window and tossed in two lit petrol bombs.

One landed near the stairs, blocking the only exit to the ground floor and trapped the occupants as they lay asleep inside.

Kyle managed to escape from an upstairs window but his four siblings, who were sleeping in a front bedroom, perished in the flames.

Younger sister Lia, aged three, was rescued from the house but died in hospital two days later.

Mrs Pearson, who was sleeping in the same room as Lia, escaped the blaze but was overheard screaming ‘Not the kids! Not my kids!’ as the fire engulfed the three bedroom mid-terrace house.

CCTV shown to the jury showed Bolland and Worrall at the address at 4.55am for one minute and five seconds.

Demi Pearson (left) and Lia Pearson (right) died in arson attack in Greater Manchester, in 2017

The cameras recorded a flash then a larger second one from the petrol bombs, before they fled.

Neighbours ran out to help but were beaten back by the heat and flames as multiple 999 calls were made.

Three fire engines scrambled to the scene, the first arriving at 5.04am, with firefighters discovering Brandon face down on his bedroom floor, as if trying to crawl out, and Lacie directly behind him, suggesting she was following her brother to try to escape.

Regarding Ms Pearson’s death, both Bolland and Worrall had pleaded not guilty to murder, but admitted manslaughter.

Jurors delivered their guilty verdicts this afternoon following a three-week trial at Manchester Crown Court.

Courtney Brierley, 23, had already pleaded guilty to Ms Pearson’s manslaughter.

Bolland, Worrall, and Brierley are due to be sentenced on April 21.

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