Rail guard sentenced to five years after train death

A railway guard convicted of the manslaughter of a drunk teenager after he signalled for a train to move as she was leaning against the carriage in Liverpool has been jailed for five years.

Christopher McGee, 45, gave the signal for the driver to depart as Georgia Varley, 16, was leaning against the window from the platform. He was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence by a unanimous jury at Liverpool Crown Court on Wednesday following a two-week trial.

McGee, who had worked as a guard for Merseyrail since 1992, showed no emotion as the sentence was passed.

Mr Justice Holroyde told him: "Georgia's life was ended in a dreadful way at the age of just 16 by your gross negligence. 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 judge said aggravating features of the crime were McGee's "years of service and training".

"You must have known that a passenger who falls between the train and the platform is likely to be killed," he told the defendant.

"As the guard of the train, you were in complete control of the movement of the train. That control carries with it the direct and personal responsibility for the safety of passengers.

"Much has been made on your behalf during this trial of how intoxicated Georgia was, but that did not relieve you of the duty of care which you owed to her. You alone determined whether the train remained stationary or began to move. Your decision and your action determined whether Georgia Varley was safe from risk."

The judge said McGee's negligence "can be measured in seconds" and "must be viewed against a background of more than 20 years conscientious service on the railways".

He was told McGee had received a police caution in 2009 for growing nine cannabis plants at his home in Edenhurst Avenue, Wallasey, Wirral.