Man accused of children's murders in fire bombing 'did not mean to hurt anyone'

Demi, Brandon, Lacie and Lia were killed in the fire Credit: ITV Granada Reports

A man accused of murdering four children after fire bombing their home as they slept in their beds did not intend to hurt anyone, a court heard.

David Worrall, 25, told police he was a "drunken fool" and just going along with his co-accused and alleged ringleader Zak Bolland.

The pair are alleged to have removed a fence panel from the garden of Michelle Pearson's home in Walkden, Greater Manchester, smashed a kitchen window and tossed in two lit petrol bombs, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Demi Pearson, 15, her brother, Brandon, aged eight and sister, Lacie, aged seven, sleeping in a front bedroom, all perished in the blaze at their mid-terrace home on Jackson Street.

Mrs Pearson, 35, was asleep with her youngest child Lia, aged three in a cot beside her in a back bedroom.

She was rescued alive along with Lia, who died in hospital two days after the attack, around 5am on December 11 last year.

All four children suffered cardiac arrests and died as a result of a combination of burns and smoke inhalation.

Bolland, 23, Worrall, and Bolland's girlfriend, Courtney Brierley, 20, are on trial for the murders, the result of a "petty" feud with Mrs Pearson's son, Kyle, 16, about £500 damage to a car.

Kyle and his friend Bobby Harris managed to escape after one petrol bomb landed near the stairs, trapping the other victims upstairs as flames engulfed the house.

On Thursday, the jury heard Worrall was "shaking profusely" after he was arrested at his mother's house for murder the day after the attack.

He told officers he was scared of being labelled a "grass" and the attack was "bad."

A police officer interviewing him replied: "What's being a 'grass' when four kids are dead?"

Worrall, a father-of-one, told police he took an axe and Bolland a machete with an 18-inch blade as they went round to the Pearsons' home.

He said Bolland also had two petrol bombs made up in a Budweiser beer bottle and a wine bottle.

But he maintained he only thought they were planning to set light to the family's wheelie bins outside and ran off when Bolland smashed the kitchen window.

He maintained he did not touch or throw a petrol bomb into the house.

Worrall told the police:

Bolland, Worrall and Brierley deny four counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder relating to Michelle Pearson, Kyle Pearson and Bobby Harris.

Bolland has admitted reckless arson, a charge denied by the other two.

The trial was adjourned until Friday morning when Bolland is scheduled to give evidence in his defence from the witness box.