Manchester arson attack: Mother's heartbreaking tribute to four children killed in fire as hundreds of mourners attend funeral

Katy Clifton
The coffins of Demi, Brandon, Lacie and Lia Pearson, who were killed in a petrol bomb attack at their home last year: PA

Four little coffins have been carried into church for the funeral of four children murdered in a petrol-bombing of their home in Greater Manchester last year.

Hundreds of mourners turned out for the funeral of Demi Pearson, 15, brother Brandon, eight, and sisters Lacie, seven, and Lia, three, who died in the arson attack last December.

The words of their grieving mother Michelle Pearson, 36, still being treated in hospital for her injuries, were read by her sister Claire Pearson.

"They were the twinkle in my eye, now they are angels in the sky," she said.

Four little coffins were carried into church for the children's funerals (Peter Byrne/PA)

Mrs Pearson was badly injured in the blaze at her home in Jackson Street, Walkden, Greater Manchester.

She described Lia as a "right little chatterbox", and said just thinking of Lacie, who loved to dance, made her smile through her tears.

Brandon loved technology and computers and had promised to build his mother a new house when he grew up, and Demi would stay out later than she should, "but I could never get mad at her".

Mrs Pearson's words continued: "I'm so proud of them. It's hard to put into words what's happened and how it makes me feel.

"They were the twinkle in my eye, now they are angels in the sky. One day we will be united forever."

The funeral procession was led by a kilted bagpipers playing a mournful lament, 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 broke into tears as they passed a guard of honour of firefighters, the men and women who went into the house engulfed in flames and tried in vain to rescue the children.

Emergency services personnel line up outside St Paul's Church in Walkden for the funeral (Peter Byrne/PA)

Demi's coffin and carriage were multi-coloured, in memory of a teenager who was fond of music and planned to go to college.

Next came Brandon's, an Avengers-themed coffin, adorned with pictures of superhero figures.

Then followed Lacie's coffin, with a picture of a pink My Little Pony for the girl described by family as a "little diva".

Last came Lia, the smallest coffin of all, with a picture of the cartoon character Peppa Pig.

Mrs Pearson's mother Sandra Lever was among the hundreds of mourners filing into the church for the start of the service at St Paul's Church in Walkden, a quarter of a mile from their home.

Mrs Lever 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 for the start of the service, mourners filling the church, with dozens of others listening to a loudspeaker relaying the service to those still outside.

Reverend Gill Page told them they were there to celebrate the lives of four "precious" children for the short time they spent on Earth.

Additional reporting by Press Association.