Two people have been charged with murder following the deaths of four children at a house fire in Salford.
Zac Bolland, 23, of Blackleach Drive, Worsley, and Courtney Brierley, 20, of Worsley Avenue, Worsley, are due to appear in court also accused of arson with intent to endanger life and four counts of attempted murder following the fire at a house on Jackson Street in Worsley which police believe was started deliberately.
Siblings Demi Pearson, 14, Brandon, eight, and seven-year-old Lacie were all declare dead at the scene of the blaze on 11 December. Their three-year-old sister Lia and 35-year-old mother Michelle Pearson are still in hospital in a serious condition.
The mother is still heavily sedated and is unaware three of her children are dead. Two 16-year-old boys managed to escape the fire by themselves before emergency services arrived at the scene.
Bolland and Brierley both remain in custody and are due to appear at Manchester and Salford Magistrates' Court later (Wednesday 13 December 2017).
Four other people have been arrested in connection with the investigation. A 25-year-old male was arrested on suspicion of murder on 12 December. Three other men, aged 19, 20 and 24, who were arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender have been bailed pending further enquiries.
Greater Manchester Police have referred themselves to the Independent Police Complaints Commission after it was revealed officers had been called to the house following an incident around 2am, three hours before the fire service were alerted to the blaze.
GMP's Territorial Commander for Salford, Chief Superintendent Wayne Miller, said: "I cannot imagine what their family are going through, they are obviously completely devastated, the loss of a child in any circumstances is unthinkable; to lose three in such deplorable circumstances, words cannot describe.
"My heart breaks for them, it really does. Our specially trained family liaison officers are supporting the family and we are doing all that we can to get them the answers they quite rightly deserve."
Update 13 December: Three-year-old Lia Pearson became the fourth victim of the fire after dying from her injuries.