Paige Doherty was only 15 when she was murdered in Clydebank, Scotland. Her mother Gillian has described how her life has been torn apart following Paige’s death. Here she tells about the terrible ordeal she went through and how it affected her day-to-day life…
Chapter 1 – What happened
Paige Doherty was a 15-year-old schoolgirl who, on March 21st, 2017, went missing from her home in Clydebank, Scotland. She was found dead three days later in woodland two miles away. Her killer has never been identified.
Paige’s mother is now sharing her story for the first time and urging parents to be vigilant about their children’s safety – especially with their daughters. I feel like I’m being punished for having a daughter, she says. It should have been me. That’s what I think every day when I wake up. Why didn’t it happen to me instead? No child deserves this fate.
I don’t know how much more grief my family can take, she said. Paige was my everything. The center of my world. My only daughter and I loved her so much. When she died, part of me died too. We were inseparable – no matter where we were or what we were doing together; our bond was unbreakable.
My last memory before she left that morning is telling her that I love her…
Chapter 2 – The anguish never goes away
It’s not a day you want to remember or want anybody else to remember. You just want it buried, so I haven’t even looked on Facebook for anything about Paige. It was hard for me because I was usually really close with her and saw her most days, but there’s never a day where I don’t think about Paige – it doesn’t go away. Every day is different – sometimes it will be quite heavy in your head and other days you can manage, but there’s always some part that thinks about what happened and what she would be doing now.
She was into everything, including horse-riding and athletics, so it plays on your mind thinking how much potential she had . There were people who said they weren’t going to have children after what happened to Paige, which I understand. But if you didn’t have children then this might happen again and again; every child could become a victim of this kind of crime. When I heard that another girl from Glasgow had been murdered in the same way as Paige my heart just stopped for a second; it seemed like an awful coincidence until we found out it wasn’t true – then it seemed like someone might be copying them (sic).
Chapter 3 – Warnings signs before Paige’s death
A few weeks after her daughter’s death, Ms Doherty received a message on Facebook from one of the girls who knew Paige. She said she was really sorry for what had happened, she says. It was just a private message but it just kind of shocked me that she would send me that. Ms Doherty also heard from one parent whose child was friends with Paige and another whose child had been in trouble with her daughter and seen as a potential threat by her. It sounds terrible but I’m so glad my children weren’t friends with Paige, she told me. I don’t know if I could have coped.
Chapter 4 – From Glasgow to Crete with her killer
The morning after his arrest, he put his arm around me and said, I’m sorry. He was shaking. I could see from his eyes that he knew what he’d done. I was feeling numb and couldn’t speak. But I just looked at him and said, You will never be forgiven. Then I turned away and walked out the door. A month later we heard he had been acquitted. We had not read any news or watched TV since his arrest.
When I saw it on my phone, my legs gave way and my head went fuzzy. It seemed unreal, like a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from. They all shouted something but it sounded like a noise in the distance and nothing registered until I felt arms holding me tightly against someone’s chest – Tom’s chest – as he said over and over again how sorry he was.
Chapter 5 – You were so young
Paige loved her life, she was a happy girl, she was just so young. She had everything going for her, but because somebody wanted to take that away from her, they’ve taken everything away from us. I can’t remember what it felt like not being called Mum by my daughter and feeling her arms around me in bed. It’s been over two years now and I still don’t know how long this journey is going to be for me. The only thing that keeps me strong is knowing that she would have done anything for me.
Her words are imprinted on my heart; Mum, you’re always on my mind. You mean more than anything in the world to me and I love you with all my heart. You are my best friend, sister and mum all wrapped up into one. Without you, my whole world falls apart. You’re my role model and as long as I live, we’ll never be apart again.