Garry Bolton Hull – A SCHOOLGIRL who was killed by her dad in a murder-suicide after he set fire to their home texted her grandmother saying “help, I’m scared”, an inquest heard.
Terrified Paige Bolton, 10, sent the desperate text before she and her dad Garry Bolton, 47, were engulfed by the blaze in a locked bathroom in their burning home.
An inquest into their deaths concluded Mr Bolton had deliberately started the fire at the house in Hull on January 25, 2020, Hull Live reports.
Firefighters had broken down the locked bathroom door where they discovered Paige and her dad in the bath.
They managed to get Paige and her dad out but he was declared dead at the scene.
Paramedics battled to save Paige for 45 minutes after she was carried from the house in her pyjamas but she couldn’t be saved and died in hospital.
Returning a narrative conclusion to the inquest, which started in August last year, assistant coroner Ian Sprakes referenced the chilling texts sent by Paige before she died.
The girl had desperately tried to reach her grandma Patricia Bolton, messaging: “Daddy is scaring me. Why can’t you help me?”
Mr Bolton had written a note expressing self-harm, the inquest heard.
Station manager Richard Gibson, of Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, said he believed the fire was “deliberate” as it had started on the middle of the bed.
He told the inquest there was no evidence of an accidental cause such as a candle, faulty battery or discarded match.
He said: “I believe the ignition was due to an unspecified naked flame.
“As the seat of the fire was in the centre of the bed, it leads me to believe it was deliberate.”
A post mortem found both Paige and Bolton died from smoke inhalation.
It was the second tragedy to hit the family after the schoolgirl’s twin brother Ethan passed away at just six months old in 2009.
The hearing was told Mr Bolton had never got over his son’s death.
He had also grown “paranoid” and was cruelly nicknamed “Sloth” from film The Goonies because of the shape of his head.
The ex-squaddie had even moved Paige from her school after she was branded “the retard’s daughter”.
His sister Tracey said: “Garry had been bullied all his life and was an easy target because he would not stand up for himself.
“He was a loving and devoted father to Paige who he absolutely adored and he always put her first.
“He was thoughtful and caring. He was a gentle giant with a passive nature. He cared for his family but never really got over the death of Ethan.”
Another pal told the hearing Mr Bolton had received counselling for his low self-esteem and paranoia leading up to his death.
A neighbour described the harrowing moment he heard Bolton and Paige coughing through the wall as smoke filled the home.
Andrew Harding told the inquest: “I was banging on Garry’s door and shouting. I was shouting their names through the letter box and shouting at the windows.
“I tried the door but it was locked. Another neighbour jumped over the fence and tried the back door but that was locked like the front one.
“There was smoke coming out the back bathroom window.”
Following the tragedy, Paige’s mum spoke about the agony of losing Paige and her twin brother Ethan.
Cherie Rangley broke down, saying: “I’ve lost both my bairns now. I’m a mum with no kids left.”
She added: “Ethan was only six months old so I didn’t really have a life with him but I’ve had nearly 11 years with Paige and all I’ve got is memories.
“It is doing my head in. I’m walking down the street seeing little people with red hair like Paige. It is just breaking me so much.”
Cherie also paid tribute to her “little fighter” and revealed she “couldn’t let go of her” when she was forced to identify her body.