A fourth child has died after a devastating house fire in Manchester that claimed the lives of her three siblings.
The death of three-year-old Lia Pearson has also been confirmed after she was taken to hospital in the immediate aftermath of the blaze.
Her siblings Demi Pearson, 14, her eight-year-old brother Brandon, and seven-year-old sister Lacie died in the tragic blaze at a home in Worsley, Greater Manchester, on Monday.
Earlier today, a man and a woman appeared in court for the first time after they were charged with three counts of murder, four counts of attempted murder and one count of arson with intent to endanger life.
Zac Bolland, 23, and Courtney Brierley, 20, entered the dock together at Manchester Magistrates’ Court for a brief hearing before District Judge Khalid Qureshi decided that the matter was too serious to be dealt with in his jurisdiction.
It will be heard again on Thursday at Manchester Crown Court.
As they appeared in grey jogging bottoms and grey tops, both Bolland and Brierley spoke only to confirm their addresses and dates of birth.
Police made a total of six arrests in the hours immediately following the suspected arson attack on the family home of 35-year-old Michelle Pearson and her children in Jackson Street, Walkden.
It has since emerged that Bolland was arrested just a few hundred yards from the scene in Jackson Street on Monday evening.
Footage posted to Facebook shows a handcuffed man with his face obscured by a grey hooded top as another man shouts ‘Dead man walking’ off camera.
Lauren Murray, who captured the moment in Grosvenor Road at around 6pm, said: ‘I was walking down the street to go home and saw the police driving down really slow and then they pulled up outside my house.
‘The next thing, I saw Zak in a silver car so I got my phone out and started filming because I knew people would want to see him caught. Courtney was sat in the back of the car surrounded by police while he was led away, her face was just white..’
Two 16-year-old boys, Mrs Pearson’s son Kyle and his friend, were also in the house but escaped before fire crews arrived.
Kyle reportedly tried to re-enter the home but was prevented by huge flames and smoke.
It has since emerged that the Pearson family had been constantly threatened, with security measures being put in place at the home – including the fitting of a device to the property’s letterbox to prevent flammable objects being posted.