The broken mum of a 10-year-old girl killed by her dad has shared details of the messages he sent before starting the fire that left them both dead.
Paige Bolton and her father Garry perished after he barricaded the door of the family home in Hull and then set a bedroom alight.
In an exclusive interview, distraught mum Cherie Rangeley, 43, describes the agony of identifying the body of her daughter and saying her final goodbyes.
She shares precious memories of Paige kissing the headstone of her tragic twin brother Ethan, who died at six months old - and says she is desperate for her little girl to have the same funeral with ‘two white horses with feathers on their heads’.
She also reveals that the killer was not her children’s biological father – and that they were conceived with donor sperm.
Speaking from her home in Hull, Cherie weeps as she describes how Bolton, 47, killed her daughter early on Saturday January 25.
“He barricaded the front door and set fire to the front bedroom and she died because of him,” she says.
"He was not a horrible person, but what he has done is disgusting. He took my daughter away."
Cherie faced every parent's worst nightmare last Wednesday, when she travelled to Sheffield to identify her daughter's body.
She recalls in agonising detail her reluctance to enter the mortuary.
"I couldn’t walk into that room. It took me forever to walk in because I knew what was round the corner,” she says.
“She was the double of me. And then all of a sudden I couldn’t let go of her.
"You know when you are supposed to go I kept going back in. I was kissing her hand, kissing her face.
"I was holding her.
"I have lost two children now. I have no Paige left. I had to identify her, my girl."
Paige and Bolton both died of smoke inhalation. The former caravan worker was pronounced dead at the scene - but the schoolgirl died later in hospital, something which haunts her mum.
"He was 6ft2in. She was maybe coming up to 5ft,” Cherie says. “I said to the police how did he die first?
“His lungs are massive compared to Paige . When Paige came out she was unresponsive, but still breathing… how has that happened?”
Cherie believes that Bolton had been mentally unstable and increasingly paranoid in the months prior to the tragedy.
He sent her messages on the day of the fire which she did not see until afterwards - and which she now believes show that he was suicidal.
"He told me: 'living your own life through someone else is like a car crash. Put my ashes with Ethan and I’ll find my dad,” she recalls.
“That’s the text he sent me on the Saturday. I didn’t see them till Saturday afternoon.”
Cherie had had a 15 year relationship with Bolton and they had had Paige and Ethan in 2009 after IVF via a sperm donor.
The twins were three months premature and were very sick at birth.
"Ethan was 1.13lb and Paige was 2.2lb. Paige was a fighter and we were in and out of hospital for six months,” their mum says.
“She came home at nine weeks but we had to go back and forth to the Hull women and children’s centre to see my son.
“He died at six months of a congenital heart defect.”
The couple threw themselves into bringing up their surviving daughter - but eventually split in 2016 after 15 years together.
They began by co-parenting but the relationship grew increasingly difficult. Cherie was homeless for a few months in 2017 and says she had no choice but to allow her ex-partner residency of Paige to avoid her going into care.
The relationship became more fractious when Cherie got back on her feet and moved into a two bedroom house in May 2017. Garry became reluctant to let her see her daughter.
She claims that Paige was not allowed to play outside the house and Bolton stopped taking her swimming and to Guides. He became obsessed with the idea that people were staring at him.
Tragically, Cherie last saw Paige at the grave of her twin on the anniversary of his death in August 2019. The little girl was there with her dad.
“Paige ran up to me and gave me the biggest cuddle you could ever imagine,” she recalls.
"She said 'mummy when will I see you again?' And I stroked her on the chin and I said 'me and daddy need to sort things out'. And I haven’t seen her since."
Cherie spoke to her daughter on Christmas Day.
“My little girl was so happy with what I got her,” she says. “She couldn’t believe it. I was speaking to her and she said ‘mummy the unicorn slime thing you got me is great’.
The grieving mum is both haunted and comforted by her memories.
“Her nickname was babycakes, ” Cherie says. "She was a very sensitive, shy but stubborn girl.
"She had bright red hair like I had when I was little. When we went to her brother’s grave she would stand there and we would take baby wipes to clean it. She used to kiss it. She used to kiss his headstone.”
“I took her out on roller skates and a skateboard. I played bat and ball with her.”
"Paige used to come round my house and I’d get the paddling pool. I can’t watch the videos now.”
Cherie concedes that her ex partner was ill and believes he was paranoid and had OCD, which had not been treated.
“Before he went to bed he used to finger the door handle and count it and he used to tap both doors of the fridge and the freezer,” she says.
“I said 'Gary this isn’t normal' but never went to the doctors. I said see if they can give you something and he said no.”
She says that he hid his condition from other members of his family - but had deteriorated substantially in the last few months.
She is, however, convinced he knew what he was doing on the day of the fire - and that he did not like the fact that she was getting closer to Paige.
“I was trying to get her back on my own,” she says, adding that she believes Bolton killed their child to punish her.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made mistakes in the past. But I would never have harmed a hair on her head.
“Garry was a good dad but when we split up he went the other way. I wish I hadn’t gone through with IVF with him.”
Cherie is now planning her lovely daughter’s funeral.
"What I am struggling with is when I lost Ethan I had him in a horse and carriage and everything, and I want the same for Paige but I can’t afford it,” she says.
“I don’t want money for me I want money for her. I don’t want a car for myself. I will walk behind.
"I want two white horses with feathers on their heads, and a carriage with her coffin in it to bring her to the crematorium. That’s all I want.
"I just want a good send off for her – she didn’t deserve this."
In a statement, Humberside Police said that they were still investigating the deaths of Paige and Garry Bolton.
"The fire service and police continue to work together to establish the cause of the fire which remains as unexplained at this time.
"The post mortem examinations of both Paige and her father Garry have been carried out. There are further toxicology reports to be received before we can fully establish the cause of their deaths."
Chief Superintendent Darren Downs added: “We are continuing to support the families of those involved at this very difficult time. They have asked for their privacy to be respected as they come to terms with their loss.
“Investigations into this kind of incident are very complex and take time to complete and we would continue to ask that people avoid speculating about the circumstances and if you have any information you believe would assist our investigation, please get in touch on our non-emergency 101 line, quoting log number 127 of 25 January.”