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Salford house fire: 'Heartbroken' family pay tribute to four children killed in blaze

The family of four children killed in a house fire in Salford have said they are "heartbroken" by their loss in an emotional tribute.

Three-year-old Lia Pearson was killed in the house fire along with her siblings Lacie, seven, Brandon, eight, and 15-year-old Demi.

Their mother, Michelle Pearson, aged 35, is still fighting for life in hospital and does not yet know that her children have died.

Michelle's father, Mike, broke down as he said he could not face the thought of telling her the "awful news" if she survives.

"How can I turn round and say they are gone?" he said.

He said the family "hope and pray that she has the strength to pull through," in a joint statement with Michelle's sister Claire and brother Chris.

"Right now, all we can do is hold each other together as a family" they said.

Brandon, Lacie and Lia are seen in a family photograph. Credit: Pearson family / Greater Manchester Police

Demi "would do anything for anyone" and "was like another mum to the younger ones" the family said in a tribute.

"Brandon was going to be the next Stephen Hawking, he was so clever and you would feel like you were talking to an old man when you spoke to him," they said.

He and Lacie, who were just a year apart, were "like twins" and "always together". She was described as "a little diva" who "loved to dance".

Lia, the youngest, was "so cute and the older ones doted on her", the family said.

The lengthy tribute said they were "heartbroken" but trying to focus on helping siblings' mother.

"We are asking people to keep Michelle in their thoughts, she has lost her babies and it is heart breaking but she has a loving family who will try their best to get her through this and two older sons who adore her," they said.

Michelle Pearson is in a medically induced coma in hospital. Credit: Facebook

Three people have been charged with murder over the deadly fire that broke out at Jackson Street in Walkden, Salford, on Monday 11 December.

Zak Bolland, 23, Courtney Brierley, 20, and David Worrall, 25, all appeared in court for a preliminary hearing at Manchester Crown Court today.

No pleas were entered as the trio were further remanded in custody ahead of their next scheduled appearance on March 9.

A date for the trial, estimated to last three to four weeks, has been fixed for April 30.