1. ITV Report

Sixth person arrested after three children killed in Salford house fire

Greater Manchester Police said three men, aged 23, 20 and 18, and a 20-year-old woman have been arrested on suspicion of murder. Photo: MEN Syndication

A sixth person has been arrested in connection with the suspected murder of three children who died after a house fire in Salford.

Demi Pearson, 14, was pronounced dead at the scene, in Walkden, while her eight-year-old brother Brandon and seven-year-old sister Lacie later died in hospital.

The children's 35-year-old mother, Michelle Pearson, is in a serious condition in hospital while a fourth sibling, three-year-old Lia, is critically ill.

Seven-year-old Lacie Pearson, eight-year-old Brandon Pearson, and 14-year-old Demi Pearson all died after the fire. Credit: MEN Syndication

Greater Manchester Police said of five people who were arrested on Monday, two men, aged 19 and 20, who were arrested on suspicion of murder and a 24-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender have been bailed pending further enquiries.

A man and woman also arrested on Monday remain in police custody.

Emergency services were called to the mid-terraced house in Jackson Street just before 5am on Monday.

Two 16-year-old boys who were also in the house freed themselves before fire crews arrived and put out the blaze.

Police confirmed there had been "earlier incidents" at the address and said the force had made a self-referral to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

We now have a much deeper understanding of the devastating events which lead to the tragic deaths of three children in Walkden in the early hours of yesterday morning and have made significant progress in this investigation.

Although no formal identification has taken place, the children are believed to be 14-year-old Demi Pearson, 8-year-old Brandon Pearson and 7-year-old Lacie Pearson. Their mum and 3-year-old little sister are still fighting for their lives in hospital.

I cannot imagine what their family are going through, they are obviously completely devastated, the loss of a child in any circumstances is unthinkable; to lose three in such deplorable circumstances, words cannot describe. My heart breaks for them, it really does. Our specially trained family liaison officers are supporting the family and we are doing all that we can to get them the answers they quite rightly deserve.

We have a full team of detectives working on this case and now believe this be a targeted attack on the house after collecting CCTV from the area.

We are so very grateful to the members of the public who have come forward and given us information to help with our investigation.

We are continuing to appeal for information and have made arrests but the hard work has really just begun and justice can only be done with the help and support of the local community.

This will be a painstaking investigation for all involved. We will continue to work with the fire service to establish the cause of the fire but this is not a quick process.

Finally, I would like to assure local people that we are doing everything in our power to get to the bottom of this and find those responsible for the murder of three innocent children and the attempted murder of their sister and their mother. There will be an increased number of officers on the streets to reassure the local people and anyone with any questions or concerns is asked to speak to those officers.

– Chief Superintendent Wayne Miller, Greater Manchester Police

A crowdfunding page has been set up for the family.

Anyone with any information should contact police on 0161 856 8797, or call 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.