Salford house fire family had been living under threat and security was increased before devastating attack
The family of Michelle Pearson had been living under threat before the devastating attack. Demi Pearson, 14, Brandon, eight, and sister Lacie, seven, died after a blaze broke out on Jackson Street in Walkden at 5am on Monday morning. Five people have since been arrested in connection with the fire, and police have launched a murder investigation.
The M.E.N . has learned that security had been stepped up at the mid-terrace property. Sources confirmed to the M.E.N . that the house had been target hardened to protect the family living there from attack. Measures included the fitting of an increased security device on the letterbox.
Police confirmed that the force had very recent physical contact with the family – understood to be within 24 hours of the devastating attack.
The Manchester Evening News understands that police had been called there to a reported incident at the house at around 2am, around three hours before the blaze took hold. As well as the possibility that a flammable liquid was poured through the home s letterbox, there have also been reports that the perpetrator used scaffolding to launch the attack, although there has been been no confirmation of this by Greater Manchester Police. Chief Supt Wayne Miller confirmed at a press conference held at Swinton police station that there had been earlier incidents at the address, but refused to elaborate further or confirm the nature of the call.
As a result of the prior police contact GMP has voluntarily referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in line with procedure.
The police chief said: There have been earlier incidents at the address and consequently a referral to the IPCC has been made. Asked whether the tragedy is being linked to organised crime, Chief Supt Miller said the force was keeping an open mind and did not comment further. He added: This is a fast moving live investigation and we have a major investigation team with scores of dedicated detectives working tirelessly.
The devastated older brother of the three young children who were killed has spoken of the moment he tried desperately to save them. Speaking about the horrific incident, Kyle Pearson told the M.E.N: I fell asleep and the next thing I knew was I could hear my mum screaming, Fire! . There was lots of smoke so I climbed out of an upstairs window.
I ve gone to get back in but a cloud of smoke hit me in the face.”
I can t get my head around it . It s disgraceful.
I tried to break the front door down and smashed a window, but I couldn t get in because of the flames and the smoke.”
Timeline of events
Monday, December 11
Police were originally called to the house following an incident, around three hours before the fire service were alerted to the blaze.
Firefighters raced to the family s mid-terrace home on Jackson Street in Walkden, Salford, after reports of a large fire.
Early reports from the fire service said that six people were taken to hospital . The street was closed off and transport bosses warned people to avoid the area.
Investigations into the blaze continued . Firefighters remained at the scene to monitor the house for any remaining hotspots.
Neighbours told the M.E.N . of their shock at what had happened . One local resident said she heard screaming and banging during the night, initially thinking it was an argument . She described the street as being quite loud .
Police confirmed three children died in the fire and a three-year-old girl remained in hospital in a critical condition. They also said the fire was being treated as suspicious . Officers revealed a girl, 14, a boy, eight, and a girl, seven, all passed away after the blaze broke out . The 35-year-old mother of all the children was in a serious condition in hospital, they said.
(Image: MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS)
During a press conference at Swinton police station, detectives confirmed they had launched a murder investigation and urged a suspect to give himself up . At the briefing, Chief Superintendent Wayne Miller told reporters that seven people were in the house at the time of the fire.
He added there was an active manhunt for a suspect.
The first victim of the fire was named as 14-year-old Demi Pearson, a pupil at Educating Greater Manchester school Harrop Fold.
GMP said they had arrested a man, 23, and a woman, 20, in connection with the fire . Both were held on suspicion of murder and taken into custody for questioning.
(Image: Manchester Evening News)
Two more victims of the fire were named – Demi s younger brother Brandon, eight, and his sister Lacie, seven . Their older brother Kyle Pearson, who escaped the burning property, paid tribute to his siblings.
Police confirmed three further arrests . Two young men, aged 18 and 20, were held on suspicion of murder . A 24-year-old man was also detained on suspicion of assisting and offender, a GMP spokesman said .
Five people have now been arrested in connection with the fatal fire.
Anyone with any information should contact police on 0161 856 8797, alternatively call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Glamorous Doria, a yoga instructor, was wearing a black long-sleeved dress and a head scarf for her day out, during which she was flanked by a burly security guard dressed in jeans and a checked shirt. Security was seen outside the 61-year-old’s Los Angeles home while US actress Meghan, who quit legal drama Suits after her engagement was announced, gave an interview alongside her new fiance.
Doria was spotted with a security detail after news of her daughters engagement broke (Image: Splash News) Harry and Meghan announced their engagement on Monday (Image: REX/Shutterstock)
The man was also seen helping Doria to her car and holding the door open for her.
It comes after Meghan, 36, revealed her plans to become a UK citizen before she and Harry3 exchange their vows next May. But it looks like she’s going to have to brush up on her knowledge quite a lot before then.
When quizzed on ‘Britishisms’ last year by TV Channel Dave, she only managed to get a measly four out of 15 questions about Britain right. The quiz starts with her having to guess which answer is a genuine ale . She nails it as three out of five are correct, but most of the remaining questions leave her well and truly baffled.
She’s now officially linked to royalty after all (Image: Splash News) Video Loading
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Next, Meghan is asked which four places are real locations in the UK – she chose the only one that isn’t a real place. She also didn’t know the UK word for ‘sidewalk’ and said Vegemite was more popular than Marmite. Following the test, she admits defeat, saying: “I think I lost .
I think I was the worst at this game.”
In a briefing yesterday afternoon, the royal couple confirmed the wedding of the year will take place at St George s Chapel, Windsor Castle in May.
Meghan’s glamorous mum is a yoga instructor (Image: Splash News) A security guard holds Doria’s car door for her (Image: Splash News)
It was revealed that Meghan intends to become a British citizen – but will also retain her American citizenship. Additional details about exact date, the size of the wedding party, bridesmaids and best men are still firmly under wraps, but the pair revealed the Queen will attend. Meghan will get the chance to get to know Britain better as she joins Prince Harry on their first joint official engagement as a royal couple on Friday.
Burnley install anti-terrorism security barriers designed to thwart vehicle ramming attacks in UK first
Burnley have become the first football club in the country to install security barriers to protect fans from potential terrorist attacks. The temporary barriers, which were first used outside Turf Moor for Saturday’s Premier League game with Swansea, prevent drivers from ramming vehicles into supporters making their way to the ground. There have been numerous incidents where vehicles have been used for fatal attacks during the past few years, including in London, Nice and Barcelona.
According to the Burnley Express1 , the British-designed barriers, installed by events management company StadiumTM on behalf of the football club, allow pedestrians, cyclists and wheelchair users to pass through and can be dropped in under 30 seconds to enable access for the emergency services.
The barriers prevent drivers from ramming vehicles into supporters making their way to Turf Moor (Image: Jan Kruger)
David McAtamney, managing director of StadiumTM, said: Keeping crowds and public spaces safe during an event is paramount, and following shocking vehicle attacks across the globe including here in the UK we wanted to be at the forefront of bringing effective barrier systems to public events.
HVM barriers are the most recent addition to the services we offer and we were pleased to work with Burnley Football Club to install these at their home game against Swansea City.
The safety of fans is the club s highest priority and they were keen to become the first football team to use this innovative security method . The barriers are a temporary security measure which not only acts as a deterrent, but can also arrest and stop vehicles . We were able to quickly install and remove the barriers, and crowds entering and exiting Turf Moor were able to pass through them easily.