Couple guilty of rail girls' deaths

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A couple were today convicted of the manslaughter through gross negligence of two children who were allowed to play on a railway line during a family picnic and were killed by a train.

Gareth and Amanda Edwards - the stepfather and mother of one of the two dead girls - were found guilty of the two charges at Swansea Crown Court.

Their daughter Sophie George, aged seven, and her playmate eight-year-old Kymberley Allcock, were struck by a 60mph Sprinter train on tracks near their home in Tre'r-ddol, near Aberystwyth, West Wales, on a summer picnic on July 29 last year.

Sentence was adjourned for reports.

The prosecution alleged that the couple allowed the children to play on the railway line unattended for up to 30 minutes before the tragedy happened.

The court was told that the two children died needlessly after being allowed to play on a railway bridge during a picnic set up alongside the railway line.

Outside court solicitor May Li, representing Tony Allcock, whose daughter died in the incident, said his client would be claiming compensation against the couple.

Miss Li said the verdict "did not ease the feelings of grief in Kymberley's family following the tragic loss".

She said Mr Allcock thanked people for their support in the case, but had asked to be left to grieve in peace.

Detective Chief Inspector Miles Flood of British Transport Police described the case as "tragic".

"Two young children are dead and although no one intended for that to happen, two young lives have sadly been cut short.

"The British Transport Police deals with thousands of cases of trespass, often involving very young children on the rail system every year.

"Each one of those has the potential of ending as tragically as this case did.

"I can only hope the publicity surrounding this case will save lives in the future."