A woman and two men have been sentenced to jail for 98 years for killing four children by petrol bombing their house over a small feud.
The victims were asleep at the time when the attackers smashed the kitchen’s window and threw petrol bombs inside.
The young victims got trapped upstairs as one of the bottles exploded on the staircase and the fire spread in seconds.
Demi Pearson, 15, Brandon, 8, and Lacie, 7, were killed in the fire on 11 December.
The youngest victim Lia, 3, was rescued and taken to hospital but passed away after three days.
Mother Michelle Pearson, 36, survived with severe injuries and burns.
David Worrall, 26, and Zak Bolland, 23, attacked the house over a petty feud they earlier had with the victims’ elder brother Kyle, 17, who managed to escape the fire.
Just before the fire started both men were seen outside the house flashing petrol bombs.
They denied murder at Manchester Crown Court but a defence barrister said they are “too stupid to see the likely consequences” of what damage throwing a petrol bomb can cause.
After a three day trail, Jury found them guilty of murder.
Courtney Brierley, 20, who is Bolland’s girlfriend was also convicted of manslaughter as she helped in the making of the bomb and driving them to the place of attack.
Bolland was given a 40 years sentence and Worrall was given 37 years behind bars. Courtney Brierley was jailed for 21 years.
Brierley and Worrall burst into tears as the verdicts were read to them, while Bolland had his head down.
The court was told Kyle and Bolland were friends until someone set Bolland’s Ford focus on fire, and Bolland blamed Kyle for the incident.
Bolland started harassing Kyle and demanded he pay him £500, they both started attacking each other’s homes and Bolland then threatened to firebomb Kyle’s house.
After the threat the Pearson’s family called police and the fire department fitted a cover over the letter box.
Ms Pearson was ready to give evidence in court but due to a misunderstanding police did not take action against Bolland.
Bolland started taunting them after a few days.
Ms Pearson had to call police again and requested a restraining order.
A couple of days before their house was set on fire their bin was set on fire and spray painted the word grass on their house.
Just hours before the fire, Worrall and Bolland attacked the house gain and Bolland shouted: “Watch, all your family’s getting it, they’re all gonna die.”
The court was told the duo took an axe with them and asked a friend to take them to a nearby garage to buy petrol and then filled alcohol bottles with petrol and stuffed tissues inside the bottle.
Hours before the attack police were at the Pearson’s house to get a written statement.
After the police left, at around 5am Bolland and Worrall launched the arson attack.
The immense fire spread quickly all over the house and melted the fire alarm before they could go off, the family had no chance of escaping the fire.
Ms Pearson managed to call 999 before passing out from the heat and smoke.
Detective Chief Inspector Lewis Hughes said she remained in hospital and “will be for some time to come”.
“This is one of the most heartbreaking cases I have ever dealt with,” he added. “I am glad that the sentences these three have received today reflect their atrocious acts, but nothing can change what has happened and nothing can bring back
“Understandably the children’s family will still have questions which we will continue to try and answer.”
The court was told Ms Pearson had rang 999 on 5 different occasions in a span of just two weeks, informing them of the threats they received from Bolland who lived 300 yards away.
Six different officers took Ms Pearson’s statements and sent out risk referral forms, while two safe and well visits were done by the fire service. She also informed social services and requested to be moved to another house.
The independent Office for Police Conduct is reviewing how the case was handled. Salford City Council also launched it own investigation.
Bolland was high on cocaine and had been drinking on the night of the attack. He was well known to police and had a history of crimes. He had threatened other woman in the area and some with fire.
Bolland who was unemployed, was regularly seen by the locals with a pit bull and would usually carry a large machete on him.
Bolland’s girlfriend also has many previous convictions of robbery, battery and threatening behaviour.
She told the court, Bolland would often beat her and lock her in the house. On many occasions he broke her phone and would not allow her to make a social media account.
After Bolland was arrested he made a vain attempt to use Courtney as an alibi, he wrote to her from prison asking her to back up his claim that he believed no one was in the house. Courtney did not reply.
Worrall claimed he only went with Bolland because he thought they will only set the bins on fire. Worrall had no personal issues with Pearson family.
Mr Justice William Davis said the four children “died a terrible death”.
Bolland was also convicted of three counts of attempted murder, and Worrall was convicted of three counts of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm.
The children’s grandmother, Sandra Lever, said the offenders were “evil”.
“To think and do anything like this with four babies in the house, and a woman, and two other children, it’s just beyond me.”
She described the victims as “lovely, quiet children” who already had plans for their adult lives.
“Demi wanted to study at sixth-form college, while Brandon liked architecture and dreamed of building a house for his mum.
“Lacie was always dancing, Lia was still a baby, she just used to copy Lacie,” Ms Lever said.
“I don’t know who to blame really. I’d say all of them – the police, social services, the council – because they were all involved, they all knew about it and they all done nothing about it.”