Father and daughter who died in house fire were heard coughing in bathroom, inquest hears

A father and daughter were heard talking - and coughing - in a bathroom hours before firefighters broke into their home in a vain effort to rescue them, an inquest in Hull heard.

Forensic officers at the scene of the fire on Wensley Avenue, in Hull, last January Picture: Hanny Lawson/PA Wire
Forensic officers at the scene of the fire on Wensley Avenue, in Hull, last January Picture: Hanny Lawson/PA Wire

Garry Bolton, 47, and his daughter Paige, 10, were likely to have been rapidly overcome by smoke and fallen unconscious, after a fire broke out at Wensley Avenue, off Cottingham Road, in the city, the hearing was told.

A neighbour said he heard the pair through the wall at 5am on January 25 2020, but couldn’t make out what was said.

He initially dismissed the smell of smoke as being linked to a cable on his iron shorting earlier and it was only when the smell got stronger that he checked the loft and found it filled with smoke.

He ran outside and saw smoke billowing out of the front bedroom window and called 999, but he and other neighbours found the front and back doors were locked.

Mr Bolton was bringing up his daughter on his own after breaking up with his partner and going through the courts, eventually taking custody of her full-time.

In a statement Mr Bolton’s sister said he had been bullied most of his adult life and suffered from anxiety, which got worse following the break-up.

She said he’d also not fully got over the death of Paige’s brother, Ethan, one of twins, at just six-months-old.

A friend of Mr Bolton, who used to take their children out together, said the name-calling he suffered when working in the caravan industry had a “profound” effect, and Mr Bolton thought people were talking behind his back, including parents at school and his own neighbours.

“Because of his paranoia things would have the habit of being blown out of proportion,” he said in a statement read to the court.

"I recall him moving from school to school based on the perception of name-calling by parents at the school."

They'd fallen out after Mr Bolton accused him of talking behind his back to parents at school.

However he thought he “did very well” as a single parent supporting his daughter in play dates and out-of-hours clubs.

The inquest heard that Mr Bolton had counselling and treatment for low esteem and anxiety.

The hearing continues.