Gran who lost daughter and four grandkids in fire describes Christmas heartbreak

A heartbroken gran who lost her daughter and four grandkids after an arson attack at their home has spoken of her Christmas heartbreak.

Sandra Lever has described the festive period as the “worst” time of the year following the deaths of Michelle Pearson, 37, and children Demi, 15, Brandon, eight, Lacie, seven, and Lia, three.

The four children suffered fatal smoke inhalation following the attack on December 11, 2017, while Michelle died 20 months later in hospital after suffering horrific burns.

Sandra, 59, told The Sun she still feels their presence in her home, but the pain of their loss grows with each year.

She said: “People always say to me, ‘oh, it must be getting easier now, three years on’, but it’s not.”

She added: “And this year, because of the pandemic and everyone staying in, I think it’s been even worse.”

Sandra said Michelle loved celebrating Christmas with her six children at their home in Walkden, Greater Manchester, before the cowardly attack.

Michelle died on August 25, 2019, clutching a picture of her children, Sandra said.

In the months before her death, she underwent skin grafts, toe amputations and a tracheostomy, but medics were unable to save her life.

Michelle woke to the smell of smoke and the sound of flames just two weeks before Christmas in 2017.

She was sleeping in the same room as her young daughter, Lia, three, when she realised her home in Walkden, Greater Manchester, with her children all inside, was on fire.

Michelle screamed “Not the kids! Not my kids!” and dialled 999 before being overcome with heat and smoke before she could complete the call.

Her son Kyle, then 17, and his friend, Bobby Harris, had both escaped through an upstairs window.

Michelle suffered horrific burns to 75 per cent of her body and for 20 months after the arson attack that shattered her family she bravely fought for life.

Zak Bolland, 24, and David Worrall, 26, were both convicted of four counts of murder and jailed for life, with minimum terms of 40 and 37 years, respectively.

They were also convicted of the attempted murder of Michelle, her son Kyle, then 17, and his friend, Bobby.

All four children “died a terrible death” from smoke inhalation and burns, the killers’ trial heard.

Bolland’s then-girlfriend, Courtney Brierley, was jailed for 21 years for manslaughter and lost an appeal against her conviction.

The Manchester Crown Court trial heard Bolland had been involved in a “petty” feud with Michelle’s son Kyle over damage to a £200 car.

This prompted a series of tit-for-tat attacks.