Company sentenced after girl dies after becoming trapped in gate

Semelia Campbell Credit: PA

A company has been sentenced after a six-year-old girl died when she became trapped in an electronic gate.

Cheshire Gates and Automation Limited pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to corporate manslaughter for the death of Semelia Campbell.

The company was sentenced to a fine of £50,000 and were made the subject of a publicity order.

Judge David Stockdale QC:

The installation of the gate was carried out by Kearns and one of his employees.

A police investigation found Kearns had personally automated the gate opening and closing mechanism.

The gate should have been automated and tested to ensure that it would stop and back off when it detected an obstruction, but the programming carried out by Kearns had effectively over-ridden the built-in safety features so the gate just kept closing with a force of more than a quarter of a ton. This meant that the gate was dangerous to anyone who used it.

Detective Superintendent Peter Marsh of Greater Manchester Police said:

In a statement, Semelia’s family said:

Judge Stockdale also said Mr Kearans had to deal with the loss of his own child due to ‘grave illness’ during the proceedings, as he outlined the mitigating circumstances:

He also said he was ‘entirely satisfied’ that Mr Kearns had not sought technical advice from supplier, as he has claimed.

He said it was evident he ‘knew little or nothing’ of the relevant standards.