Paige Bolton, a 10-year-old child who perished in a house fire that an inquest heard was caused by her own father to kill them both, texted her grandma, pleading, ‘help, I’m afraid.’
As their home was engulfed in flames, the little girl texted the frantic message before her father, Garry Bolton, locked the two of them in the toilet.
Following an investigation into their deaths in Hull, East Yorkshire, the coroner determined that the fire on January 25, 2020, was most likely intentionally caused’ by Mr Bolton.
The 47-year-old was said to have barricaded himself and his daughter inside by locking the front door, disabling the alarms, and blocking the corridor with obstructions.
Fire crews were able to gain access to the bathroom and discovered the two of them in the tub. Mr Bolton was pronounced deceased on the spot.
Paige was taken out in her pyjamas and onesie, but after a 45-minute battle to resuscitate her, she was unable to be rescued and died later in hospital.
The father and daughter died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a smouldering fire ignited in the main bedroom ‘probably purposefully that morning,’ according to coroner Ian Sprate.
‘On the balance of probabilities, I consider that the fire was most likely intentionally ignited by Garry Bolton,’ he continued.
‘There are really few things I can use to lessen the grief and suffering of what was a completely awful incident,’ says the author.
Paige’s grandmother, Patricia Bolton, said at the inquest that she awoke that morning to text messages from the kid saying things like ‘help, help, I’m afraid’ and ‘Daddy is scaring me.’ Why aren’t you able to assist me?’
Mr Bolton is reportedly believed to have texted Paige’s mother, Cherie Rangeley, 45, expressing his want for her to perish in a vehicle accident.
‘In my judgement, the fire was ignited deliberately,’ fire investigator Richard Gibson told the inquest previously. It was done on purpose.’
He described the fire as being in the centre of the bed, with no sign of an unintentional source such as a candle, a broken battery, or a dropped match.
Paige’s death was the family’s second tragedy, following the death of her twin brother Ethan when he was just six months old in 2009.
He was mercilessly called ‘Sloth’ from The Goonies because of the shape of his skull, and he was believed to have been teased over his looks for years.
It was reported that the bullying was so extreme that he removed Paige from her school after she was referred to as “the retard’s kid.”
‘Garry had been bullied throughout his life and was an easy target because he would not stand up for himself,’ said Mr Bolton’s sister Tracey Ann Bolton at the inquest.
‘He was a kind and devoted father to Paige, whom he cherished, and he always placed her first,’ she continued.
‘He was considerate and compassionate.’ He was a gentle giant with a laid-back demeanour. He was concerned about his family, but he never recovered from Ethan’s death.’
‘As far as I’m concerned, he murdered my little baby,’ Ms Rangeley said after the court.
‘We were looking for an illegal killing and suicide verdict,’ she stated.