Hundreds attend funeral of four children killed in blaze
Four small coffins were carried into church yesterday as the funerals of children murdered in a petrol-bombing of their home began, watched by hundreds of mourners.
Demi Pearson, 15, brother Brandon, eight, and sisters Lacie, seven, and Lia, three, died in the arson attack which turned their home into an inferno last December.
Hundreds lined the route of the funeral procession, but the children’s mother, Michelle Pearson, 36, who was badly injured in the blaze at her home in Walkden, Greater Manchester, was too unwell to attend. The funeral procession was led by kilted bagpipers playing a lament, accompanied by drummers and followed by family and friends, walking close behind four horse-drawn carriages, each bearing a coffin.
Two white horses pulled each carriage, with the names of the child on top in flowers and a portrait photo beside each coffin.
Pallbearers wept as they passed a guard of honour of firefighters, who went into the house and tried in vain to rescue the children from the flames.
Demi’s coffin and carriage were multi-coloured, in memory of the teenager who was fond of music. Next came Brandon’s, an Avengers-themed coffin, adorned with pictures of superhero figures.
Then Lacie’s coffin, with a picture of a pink My Little Pony for the girl described by family as a “little diva”.
Finally Lia’s, the smallest coffin, with a picture of the cartoon character Peppa Pig.
Michelle Pearson’s mother, Sandra Lever, was among hundreds of mourners at the service which was held St Paul’s Church in Walkden, a quarter of a mile from their home.
She has said the children had all been “lovely, happy angels”.
Ariana Grande’s version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow played as the coffins were carried inside the packed church for start of the service. Dozens of people outside listened to a loudspeaker which relayed proceedings.
Reverend Gill Page told them they were there to celebrate the lives of four “precious” children for the short time they spent on earth.
The children’s killers, who had “terrorised” mother-of-six Michelle Pearson, are all serving lengthy jail terms.
The youngsters were murdered as they slept in their beds after Zak Bolland, 23, and David Worrall, 26, smashed a kitchen window and threw petrol bombs inside one night following a petty feud with Michelle Pearson’s teenage son Kyle.
Michelle was rescued with Lia, who died in hospital two days later.
Bolland and Worrall were both given four life sentences for murder after a trial in May and must serve a minimum of 40 and 37 years respectively before parole.
Bolland’s girlfriend, Courtney Brierley, 20, was jailed for 21 years for four counts of manslaughter.
Michelle Pearson had made a series of complaints to police and her housing provider, Salford city council, asking to be moved. An investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct has been launched.
▲ Pall bearers wept as they carried the coffins of the four children to St Paul’s Church, Walkden, Manchester
▲ Mourners watch the funeral cortege and remember the Pearson family