GEORGIA TRAGEDY: Train guard stands trial for manslaughter after death of Wirral teenager.
A 16-year-old girl died after falling beneath a train she had just got off in a city centre station, a court heard yesterday.
Georgia Varley fell onto the platform at James Street station in Liverpool while banging on the windows and then fell off the edge of the platform and was run over. cctv
footage of her on the crowded Merseyrail train and her final 30 seconds after disembarking were played to a jury in a hushed courtroom.
On trial at Liverpool Crown Court is the train's guard, Christopher McGee, 45, of Edenhurst Avenue, Wallasey, who denies manslaughter and also a charge of failing to ensure the safety of others.
Opening the prosecution case NIcholas Johnson, QC, said that the tragedy happened at 10.30pm, on October 22, last year when Georgia came into Liverpool from Manor Road station, near West Kirby, with friends.
"She never got out of the station. She ended up being run over by the very train on which she had arrived," he said.
Mr Johnson said that although it was a crowded train, only one person was in a position to see and control everything that happened.
"Most importantly only one person had the capability to prevent the situation that led to Georgia Varley's death."
He claimed that McGee did two things which caused her death.
"Firstly he gave the signal to the driver to start the train when he could not have failed to realise that Georgia Varley was in contact with the train and was in an intoxicated state.
"It is the prosecution case that seeing she had her hands against the train and knowing or at least suspecting she was the worse for drink he nonetheless gave the signal for the train to start.
"That was a deliberate act that he must have known would inevitably subject Georgia Varley to a degree of force that was highly likely to throw her off balance with the consequent risk of injury. If that is right then we say that in the circumstances it was a criminal act.
"The second thing he did namely his failure to countermand the signal to start when it was clear she could be dragged along by or under the train serves further to demonstrate that his conduct was deliberate.It created the very obvious risk of killing her.
"To the eyes of a highly-trained Merseyrail guard, we suggest the risk was even more obvious than it would be to the average person," alleged Mr Johnson.
He told the court that earlier that evening Georgia and others had been at a friend's 18th birthday and Georgia, who had been drinking and taking Mephedrine, known as Mcat, was a described as the drunkest person there.
She fell down the stairs in the house and Mr Johnson said that it may be part of the problem was that she was wearing very high-heels which when combined with vodka made it difficult for her to maintain her stability. "That my be significant."
The group walked to Manor Road station and Georgia, who carried her shoes there, she fell over in the station booking office.
When the train arrived at Meols station she got off followed by a friend but a passenger kept the door open and they got back on.
This was seen by McGee, who has been a train guard for 20 years, who had got off and walked the length of the train before getting back on to check the doors and "no doubt realising there was a drunken girl, probably more than one, on the train," claimed Mr Johnson.
Back on the train, where there was a party atmosphere, Georgia, from Moreton, fell over twice and had to be helped up.
When the train arrived at James Street Georgia was one of the last to disembark and when McGee realised she had fallen under the train he sent the emergency stop signal to the driver and the train halted after having travelled 33 metres.
Mr Johnson said that McGee, who was deeply shaken and upset, told a policeman that Georgia had been banging on the windows and doors of the train as it moved out of the station.
She fell onto the platform and between the platform edge and the train onto the lines beneath.
He later told a Merseyrail "guard standard manager" that at James Street he heard banging and saw Georgia banging on the windows so opened the doors to let her back on but she moved away so he closed them again and indicated for the driver to go.
He said she came back and started knocking on the windows and then fell and he indicated to the driver to stop.
Mr Johnson claimed McGee got that wrong and the jury would have to consider "whether this error was a honest mistake of a deeply shaken man or whether it was a deliberate attempt to try to explain away what we suggest was a grave crime he had committed."