TWO people have appeared in court charged with three counts of murder following a fatal house fire.

Zac Bolland, aged 23, of Blackleach Drive, Walkden and Courtney Brierley, aged 20, of Worsley Avenue, Little Hulton, both appeared at Manchester Magistrates' Court this morning.

They were charged after emergency services were called to a house fire in Jackson Street, Walkden, at around 5am on Monday.

Bolland and Brierley both appeared wearing grey tracksuits and spoke only to confirm their names, addresses, dates of birth and nationality during the brief hearing.

They are both accused of three counts of murder, four counts of attempted murder and one count of arson with intent to endanger life.

The murder charges follow deaths of Demi Pearson, aged 15, Brandon Pearson, aged eight and Lacie Pearson, aged seven.

The attempted murder charges relate to Michelle Pearson, aged 35, and three children, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

District Judge Khalid Qureshi said the offences are too serious to be handled in the magistrates' court and transferred the case to Manchester Crown Court for Bolland and Brierley to appear tomorrow.

Both defendants were remanded in custody until then.

Bolland was represented by Daniel King and Brierley was represented by Stephen Munton.

Robin Lynch appeared on behalf of the prosecution during the very brief hearing.

Several representatives from the media were present in court for the hearing.

A 25-year-old man arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of murder remains in custody for questioning and three men aged 19, 20 and 24, also arrested in connection with the investigation, have been released on bail.