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Five years jail for train guard
Georgia Varley, 16, who was killed when she fell between a train and the platform at James Street station in Liverpool (British Transport Police)
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 has been jailed for five years.
Christopher McGee, 45, gave the signal for the driver to depart as Georgia Varley, 16, was leaning against a train 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". He told the defendant: "You must have known that a passenger who falls between the train and the platform is likely to be killed. 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."
Georgia, described as "wonderful" by her mother, was on a night out in Liverpool with friends, when she fell between the train and the platform at the city's James Street station on October 22 last year. The sixth-form college student, from Moreton, Wirral, was three times the legal drink-driving limit and had 0.083mg of the drug mephedrone, or Mcat, in her system at the time of her death, the court heard.
McGee, who denied manslaughter, told the jury he thought Georgia was moving away from the train when he gave the signal to depart. He also said he did not know how drunk she was.
Completing his sentencing remarks, Mr Justice Holroyde told McGee: "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."