A rail guard has been jailed for five years after causing the death of a teenager by signalling a train to move as she was leaning against the carriage.

Georgia Varley, 16, lost her balance and fell to her death between the train and the platform on her way back from a party.

georgia

Georgia was 16 when she fell to her death between the train and the platform


She was three times over 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.

However passing sentence, Mr Justice Holroyde said rail guard Christopher McGee had shown an "appalling disregard" for her safety and dismissed his claims that he thought Georgia was moving away from the train and he did not know how drunk she was.

He told Liverpool Crown Court: "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."

rail guard

Rail guard Chris McGee was sentenced to five years in prison

The jury heard Georgia, a sixth-form college student, had been to a party near her home in Moreton, Wirral, and was heading into Liverpool with friends when the tragedy happened on October 22 2011.

CCTV showed the teenager, described to the court as "legless", mistakenly getting off the Merseyrail train at Liverpool's James Street station just before 11.30pm, and then turning around and leaning against the carriage as she realised her friends were still on board.

cctv

CCTV was shown to the court

Georgia was then seen to stagger and fall down the gap as the train moved off, before stopping after travelling around 30ft.

But passing sentence, 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.

The judge said the guard had "direct and personal responsibility for the safety of the passengers" and added: "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."

He added: "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."

McGee, who had worked as a Merseyrail guard since 1992, will be entitled to apply for parole after serving half his sentence, the judge ruled.

Georgia's family made no comment as they left court today. Speaking after yesterday's verdict her mother, Paula Redmond, 41, described her daughter as "wonderful" and said: "We have listened as 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.

"For he had very little, if any, regard at all for our daughter and her safety."