Railway guard Christopher McGee jailed for manslaughter after 'seconds of negligence' caused death of drunk teenage girl who fell underneath train


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The Independent Online

A rail guard who signalled for a train to move off while a teenage girl was leaning against a carriage, causing her to fall to her death, has been jailed for five years.

Georgia Varley, 16, was run over by the train after losing her balance and falling into the gap between the carriage and the platform at Liverpool’s James Street station.

Christopher McGee was sentenced today following an eight-day trial at which he had denied but was convicted of manslaughter. He had claimed the teenager was moving away from the train when he signalled for its to depart.

Mr Justice Holroyde said: “In my judgment, the CCTV footage is unequivocal, Georgia Varley was not moving away and she was not showing any sign of moving away.

“She only moved when the movement of the train deprived her of support and caused her to lose balance and fall to her death.

“I am satisfied that you merely hoped and assumed she would get out of the way when the train began to move, and on that wholly inadequate basis you took a terrible risk.

“You alone determined whether the train remained stationary or began to move. You did not intend to kill or even injure her, but you displayed an appalling disregard for her safety, and she paid for your criminal negligence with her life.”

The court heard that the teenager was drunk and had traces of the drug mephedrone, or Mcat, in her system but the judge observed that no matter “how intoxicated Georgia was” the guard still owed her a duty of care.

Georgia , a sixth-form college student, had been to a party near her home in Moreton, Wirral, and was heading into Liverpool with friends when she fell to her death on October 22 last year. She had mistakenly left the Merseyrail train at the station and leaned against the carriage as she realised her friends were still on board.

McGee, who had worked as a Merseyrail guard since 1992, will be entitled to apply for parole after serving half his sentence.

The family made no comment today but after Wednesday’s verdict Georgia’s mother, Paula Redmond, said: “Our daughter was portrayed as being a drunken liability when, in all honesty, she did no more than what many teenagers do of a weekend - she went out to celebrate her friend’s birthday.

“The only liability that night was a train guard whom Georgia had the catastrophic misfortune to encounter.”