Around Christmas, especially as a child, handing out festive cards to friends is a highly anticipating moment – but Brandon Pearson's life was tragically cut short and his cards remained unopened as he never got the chance to hand them out.
The eight-year-old wrote to his classmates telling them to "enjoy" their holidays, he signed the card with his name, a heart and two kisses, before completing the kind gesture by adding chewing gum in each one.
But before he got the chance to give them to his friends, he and his sisters Demi Pearson, 5, Lacie Pearson, 7, and Lia Pearson, 3, were killed in a horror arson attack after homemade petrol bombs were thrown into their home as they slept.
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Brandon's burnt cards were discovered by his relatives, months after the blaze had engulfed their home in Manchester back on December 11, 2017.
His grandmother Sandra Lever, 57, said her granddaughter found the cards and opened them up to find his kind words and a piece of chewing gum.
“He was thoughtful, he was always trying to make people laugh," she previously told The Mirror.
His mother Michelle Pearson, Sandra's daughter, suffered catastrophic burns and was in a coma for months after the attack – she was unaware of the mass tragedy until she had woken up.
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“Twelve months she’s been in here, but she wasn’t awake for half of it, so she has only just begun the grieving process," Sandra previously told Manchester Evening News.
Sandra said they had to remind her every day about what had happened to her kids because of the amount of medication she was on.
“It took a long time for her to get her head around what happened," she added.
Michelle was left with 68 per cent burns after she came round from her coma at Wythenshawe Hospital's burns unit.
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She had to undergo extensive physiotherapy where she was eventually able to move one of her arms, and one of her feet.
But the families tragedy wasn't over there, as Michelle became increasingly ill and was left suffering from infections which led to the decision of a do not resuscitate order.
20 months after the fire, she fell ill after undergoing surgery and sadly died on August 25, 2019.
"She looked at me and closed her eyes, and that was the last time she was conscious," her brother Christopher told Manchester Crown Court.
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Zak Bolland and David Worrall were jailed for life after they were found guilty of the murder of the three children back in 2018.
Michelle's son Kyle and his friend Bobby Harris, both 16, survived the fire after managing to escape through a bedroom window.
It was reported that the petrol bomb attack was the latest out of a string of tit-for-tat incidents in a feud between Bolland and son Kyle.
Earlier this year, Zak Bolland and David Worrall were jailed for a combined 77 years after they were found guilty of the mum's murder.
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Bolland was slapped with a 40-year sentence and Worrall was sentenced to 37 years at Manchester Crown Square Court on April 21, 2021.
While Courtney Brierley, Bolland's former girlfriend, who helped make the petrol bombs, pleaded guilty to manslaughter following Michelle's death. She was sentenced to 12 years in jail.
Greater Manchester Police issued a statement from the family, which said: "Losing Michelle and the children is still very raw, and we are all still struggling to come to terms with losing them especially the way they died in such a horrific way.
"It is hard enough to lose one person that you love through being deliberately and cruelly taken away from you but to lose five is unbearable."
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The family went on to say that the sentences that have been issued "will never be enough".
They added: "Michelle and the children filled a massive place in all our hearts and our family will never be the same ever again. We are all utterly heartbroken and forever will be.
"Michelle had so much more to give to this world, and the children had a full life ahead of them."
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