Five-year-old girl killed by automatic gate

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The Independent Online

A five-year-old girl died after she was trapped by an automatic sliding gate outside an apartment block.

Emergency services were called to the scene at Brook Court, Bridgend, south Wales, on Saturday afternoon.

The waist-high black metal gate is at the entrance to the residents' car park of the three-storey apartment building.

The modern block of privately-owned flats is managed by a housing association and surrounded by streets of terraced houses about five minutes walk from the town centre.

People who live in the block said the accident happened about 5pm.

They said the little girl, whose family lives nearby, was east European. Relatives declined to talk to reporters.

Police said she was taken to the town's Princess of Wales Hospital where she later died.

Eleanor Jones, who lives opposite the scene, said she saw the girl playing in the street.

A large number of police officers were in the road on Saturday night, she said.

"I can't believe it because the little girl was there when I went out," Mrs Jones said.

"By the time I came home it was just police in the street.

"I had seen her but I didn't know her."

She added: "It's devastating. You can't believe that a gate would do that."

The gate was open and de-activated last night.

Floral tributes, teddies and cards were left on the railings around the apartment block's car park.

One read: "Tears are in my eyes when I think about a beautiful little girl lost."

Another said: "Pedal your little bike as fast as you can to heaven. Sleep tight little angel."

Local councillor Peter Foley said: "It's a great tragedy.

"I don't blame the kids for playing here. They should be safe here."

South Wales Police said a full investigation was under way and a file was being prepared for the coroner.

The accident follows the death last Monday of a six-year-old crushed by an electronic gate.

Semelia Campbell was playing with a friend near her home on Carnival Place, Moss Side, Manchester, when the motorised gate closed on her.

The schoolgirl was eventually freed when police broke off an electronic box.

She was rushed to Manchester Royal Infirmary but died from her injuries a short time later.