Girl, 6, dies after being pinned by motorised gates

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The Independent Online

The mother of a young girl crushed to death by an electronic gate said she was "angry and devastated". Semelia Campbell, six, was playing with a friend near her home on Carnival Place, Moss Side, Manchester, on Monday night when the motorised gate closed on her.

Her mother, Judith Gilroy, 41, tried to free her daughter who was pinned against a brick post. She said she tried pressing the electronic button to open the gate, and tried to use a remote control, but neither worked.

She said the accident would not have happened if the gates has been secured. "The gates are chained up now but they were not secured last night," she said. "We tried everything we could to free her. She was my whole life, I don't know how I will go on without her. I'm just angry and devastated. The gate was not finished, it shouldn't have happened."

The gates led on to a building site close to the Maine Place development where Semelia's family moved three weeks ago. Many of the houses in the area are still under construction.

The schoolgirl was eventually freed when police broke off an electronic box. She was taken to Manchester Royal Infirmary but died from her injuries. It is thought Semelia suffered a heart attack as well as massive crush injuries.

Greater Manchester Police and the Health and Safety Executive launched an investigation to discover precisely what happened as the girl and her friend, Jadon Skeritt, also aged six, played near the gate at 7.30pm on Monday.

Ms Gilroy described her youngest child as "kind and sharing", adding she loved school, dancing and reading. "I can picture her now singing and dancing," she said. Tributes were left near the gates outside the housing complex.

Semelia had three older siblings – Conroy Kellyman, 14, Tashieka Kellyman, 16, and Nerissa Kellyman, 22.

Last night, family and friends gathered at the spot where Semelia died, reading cards left at the scene.

Tashieka sobbed as she read the tributes, and said: "I will miss her so much." One hand-made card was left by a girl called Showna. It read: "I love you so much, thanks for being my friend."

The Health and Safety Executive would not comment yesterday but their guidelines require developers to take steps to prevent people getting trapped in electric gates. Pressure-sensitive strips and infra-red detectors are recommended.

Earlier this year, a developer Faulkner Gates Ltd, of Romsey, in Hampshire, was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay £40,000 legal costs after it admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act. The company was prosecuted after nine-year-old Jason Keet was crushed to death by a set of electronic gates in Poole, Dorset.

Yesterday, a spokesman for Lowry Homes, which is developing the site, said it was "saddened and shocked at the tragic incident," adding that it was co-operating fully with the investigation.

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