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Court sets provisional trial date for trio accused of house fire child murders

Four siblings were killed in the Walkden fire. Photo: ITV Granada

A provisional trial date has been set for three people accused of murdering four children in a house fire.

Zak Bolland, 23, Courtney Brierley, 20, and David Worrall, 25, appeared in the dock together for the first time as they attended a preliminary hearing at Manchester Crown Court.

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.

The defendants are charged with the murders of Demi Pearson, 15, her brother, Brandon, aged eight, and sisters Lacie, seven, and Lia, three.

They are also accused of arson with intent to endanger life and the attempted murder of the children's mother, Michelle Pearson, 35, and two juveniles who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Bolland, of Blackleach Drive, Walkden, and Worrall, of no fixed abode, both wearing fluorescent yellow and green boiler suits, and Brierley, of Worsley Avenue, Walkden, wearing a grey tracksuit, were flanked by dock officers as the future court dates were decided.

At the beginning of the 20-minute hearing, all three gave their full names, dates of birth and their nationalities. Worrall smiled as he confirmed his personal details.

The Honorary Recorder of Manchester, David Stockdale QC, adjourned the case until the plea and trial preparation hearing in March when the defendants are set to appear in person again from custody.

Ms Pearson is seriously ill in a coma 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.

Please could all future articles about the fatal house fire on Jackson Street, Walkden include the below email address, along with a request for anybody with CCTV footage or images that may assist the investigation to please send it to the below.

Anyone with CCTV footage, or images which may assist the police investigation, is asked to contact the police:

scd.cctv@gmp.police.uk