Convicted child killers guilty of murdering mother in same arson attack
Two convicted child killers have been found guilty of the murder of a woman who died 20 months after the same arson attack killed four of her children.
Zak Bolland, 26, and David Worrall, 28, were both convicted by a jury on Tuesday of the murder of Michelle Pearson, 37, following a three-week trial at Manchester Crown Court.
The pair were already serving four life sentences – with a minimum of 40 years for Bolland and 37 for Worrall – for the murders of her four children following a trial in 2018.
They denied the murder of Mrs Pearson, claiming they had been wrongly convicted of murdering her children. Both will be sentenced next month.
High on drink and drugs, the pair launched the fatal attack, the culmination of series of tit-for-tat attacks while feuding with the 16-year-old son of Mrs Pearson.
They petrol-bombed her home on Jackson Street, Walkden Greater Manchester, in the early hours of the morning, trapping the family upstairs as a ferocious blaze engulfed the house on December 11, 2017.
Demi Pearson, 15, her brother Brandon, aged eight, and sister Lacie, aged seven, all perished in the blaze.
Mrs Pearson was rescued along with her youngest daughter, Lia, aged three, who died in hospital two days later.
Her eldest son, Kyle Pearson, 16, managed to escape the blaze through a window.
Mrs Pearson suffered 68% burns to her body and “clung on to life” the court heard, until she died, aged 37, on August 25 2019 – 20 months after the attack.
Detective Chief Inspector Cheryl Chatterton, from Greater Manchester Police’s Major Investigation Team, said: “This was a heartbreaking case and I’m glad that Bolland and Worrall have now faced justice for the devastating death of Michelle too – 20 months on.
“Bolland and Worral planned this attack and threw their handmade petrol bombs inside. The fire spread so quickly and the heat was so intense that the smoke alarms melted before they even had a chance to sound.
“Nothing can bring Michelle and the children back, but I hope they can now be given time to grieve and come to terms with what has happened.
“All of our thoughts are with the family who have been through such a difficult time and have had to sit through two trials and listen to details on what was a horrific and planned attack.”
Bolland’s girlfriend at the time of the attack, Courtney Brierley, 23, who “encouraged or assisted them”, was convicted of four counts of manslaughter at the first trial and jailed for 21 years.
She admitted the manslaughter of Mrs Pearson. All three will be sentenced on April 21.