Railway guard jailed for girl's fatal fall

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The Independent Online

A railway guard who signalled for a train to move off while a teenager was leaning against one of its carriages, 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 James Street station in Liverpool.

Christopher McGee was sentenced yesterday following an eight-day trial at which he had denied manslaughter but was convicted. He had claimed the teenager was moving away from the train when he signalled for it 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."

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

The Varley family made no comment yesterday but after Wednesday's guilty 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."