It’s been revealed that one of the two female police officers murdered in Greater Manchester earlier this week had been planning a future with the woman she loved and the child she was helping to bring up as her own.

Friends described the relationship of Fiona Bone and her partner, Clare Curran, 39, an IT worker and the mother of six-year-old Jessie, as “affectionate and very united”.

PC Bone and her colleague PC Nicola Hughes were killed in a gun and grenade attack in Mottram, Tameside, on Tuesday morning.

Dale Cregan, 29, was arrested by police on suspicion of their murders. Mr Cregan was also arrested on suspicion of the murders of Mark Short in May and David Short in August.

Police have been given until Friday morning to question Mr Cregan in relation to all four deaths.

Louise Curran, a freelance television producer, and Ms Curran’s sister, said on Facebook:

“Fiona, a beautiful, kind, loving, gentle, funny, caring sister-to-be, Jessie’s best friend, Clare’s rock. Words can’t describe how much we love you and miss you.”

Angela McGranaghan, 66, a neighbour of the couple, said: “They seemed so affectionate and very united. Fiona taught the little girl how to ride a bike. They used to go out on pedal bikes. It is absolutely devastating.”

PC Bone’s family released a statement, saying: “In addition to the kind tribute from the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, may [we] add that our family have lost a wonderful daughter, sister, partner and parent to Jessie.

The family added: “Fiona enjoyed life to the full from her days with the Air Training Corps, rugby at university, to her service with the police. She was planning her marriage to Clare and this joy has been taken from us.

“May [we] take this opportunity to thank officers from both Greater Manchester Police and the Isle of Man Police for their help…Our thoughts are with Nicola’s family, along with Fiona and Nicola’s fellow officers.”

PC Bone, who was brought up in Port St Mary in the Isle of Man and educated in the sixth form at Castle Rushen High School, came from a different background from PC Nicola Hughes.

PC Hughes had grown up in the quiet Saddleworth village of Diggle on the edge of the Pennines. While PC Bone was calm and reserved, PC Hughes was “bubbly” and a “chatterbox”. She joined the Greater Manchester force three years ago and it was the job she loved, her family said.