Train Guard Found Guilty Over Girl's Death

(215 Posts)
blisterpack Wed 14-Nov-12 22:38:58

I saw this article today and am really confused. How can a train guard be found guilty of manslaughter when an accident like this happens? And the quote from the poor guard,
McGee 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.

Should he have known then? confused

lalalonglegs Wed 14-Nov-12 22:42:55

I haven't followed the story but I suppose there were grounds not to believe his version of events and that he didn't follow the correct procedures.

hatesponge Wed 14-Nov-12 22:46:22

I read a previous report of this case (in the Daily Fail I think) which said that the girl was clearly VERY drunk, falling over on the floor kind of drunk. It was obvious to a casual observer she was pissed out of her head. Evidence was that she was leaning on the train because she couldn't stand up. ]

He shouldn't have given any signal for the train to move off while she was still leaning against it - I know at the London mainline station I use, guards shout v loudly to people to stand clear, and will not signal the driver if there are people in contact with the train. It is a tragic case, I am sure that he had no intention that she would be harmed, but he ought to have made sure she was standing well clear before giving the signal. Had he done so, she might well still be alive.

PinkMacaroon Wed 14-Nov-12 22:49:24

I just typed out a long response but sponge has put it much better.

It's very sad but ultimately, if the poor girl was in contact with the train, he should not have let it depart.

diddl Thu 15-Nov-12 08:31:20

As I read it, she wanted to get back on as her friends were still on the train-so it seems to me unlikely that she would "stand clear".

How did they even let her get off?

Of course he was wrong to let the train go if she was leaning on it.

Sadly she was so drunk she must have just crumpled whereas most people would be able to step back.

Seems like a very tragic accident-with the biggest factor being her drunkenness.

wintera Thu 15-Nov-12 10:15:26

This is a very strange and upsetting case this one. Heard about it on our local news the other day. Me and my mum had a discussion about it actually. My mum felt really bad for the guy saying it wasn't his fault etc. The report I heard on the news said he gave his version of events saying he didn't realise she was still leaning on the train and didn't realise how pissed she was etc. But it then went on to say that once the CCTV footage had been looked at it was obvious that she was legless and still leaning on the train so he should have known it wasn't safe and shouldn't have given the ok to go.

I don't honestly think he meant any harm to the girl at all of course he didn't. But I also think he made a really bad decision as well and he was definitely negligent in his duty. When he is pictured on the tv he looks shattered by the whole thing so he is obviously very remorseful indeed. Its very sad all round really.

EmmelineGoulden Thu 15-Nov-12 10:30:36

If the jury thought there was evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that he let the train go knowing she was still leaning against it, then manslaughter is reasonable. It is tragic, and I'd agree the biggest contributing factor was her drunkenness. But someone who knowingly does something dangerous and causes anothers death deserves to be punished and shouldn't be in a position to repeat the mstake.

But I'm still very uncomfortable about the conviction. I don't think people do their jobs well when they're scared. And I think if I were a guard this conviction would make me scared about the job I was doing. Because while I don't want to second guess the jury, if I were a guard I'd be thinking "but what if he didn't do it on purpose, what if he just didn't see her? What if she lurched a bit and he thought she'd just moved away? what if the CCTV picks up stuff that he didn't see, it's not as though she's all he has to look at? what if I make a mistake..."

diddl Thu 15-Nov-12 10:41:24

"what if the CCTV picks up stuff that he didn't see, "

Yes-that.

Did he base his decision on what he saw at the time or what he was watching on CCTV?

Also re her being drunk-yes, in this case it seems to mean that she couldn´t stand unaided.

But how was he to know this?

Was he supposed to have seen it on the CCTV?

And then what?

Get someone to move her to a place of safety?

Wonder what the procedure in place is?

spoonsspoonsspoons Thu 15-Nov-12 10:41:30

The sentence seems harsh in comparison to say a lorry driver (i.e. a professional at work) who causes a fatal accident.

EmmelineGoulden Thu 15-Nov-12 10:47:00

He hasn't been sentenced yet has he spoons?

spoonsspoonsspoons Thu 15-Nov-12 10:48:17

Sentenced today, 5 years

blisterpack Thu 15-Nov-12 10:55:20

She wasn't only drunk but was also found to have mephedrone/Mcat in her system. It seems like a very harsh sentence and I feel sorry for the man. Especially after reading this quote from the mother,

"The only liability that night was a train guard whom Georgia had the catastrophic misfortune to encounter."

I'm shocked at the severity of the sentence too.....
...but then looking at the pictures the platform is well-lit and otherwise empty. No defence that he couldn't see her clearly. His reasoning that he thought she was moving away isn't adequate, he should have waited until she had moved away.
I have huge sympathy for her family, and also for him and his family. I am sure he never intended her any harm. Tragic all round.

lalalonglegs Thu 15-Nov-12 11:20:31

Bloody hell, five years. [Shock]

diddl Thu 15-Nov-12 11:33:38

It seems to me that the liability lies with quite a few others.

He should have waited until she moved away.

I suppose he was trying to balance that with getting the train away as on time as possible.

Sadly for him, they can point the finger & say if he hadn´t done that she probaly wouldn´t have fallen.

But when must people also take responsibility for the state that they get in?

Whose fault is it that she got off at the wrong stop & was trying to get back on the train?

What now-breath test before you use an underground system?

Like the campaign for clubs to serve in plastic cups-it shouldn´t have to be happening.

Adults should know when to stop/not be served.

Vev Thu 15-Nov-12 12:17:10

I feel so, so sorry for the man and can't understand such a harsh sentence. Why was he expected to know how drunk/drugged she was. Awful for the girl, but it seems like she made the mistake. What about her friends she was with?

MrsCantSayAnything Thu 15-Nov-12 12:22:17

He was very neglectful. He should have seen her NEAR the edge and waited...or sent assistance.

Jjou Thu 15-Nov-12 12:30:19

I feel immensely sorry for the guard really, at what point does personal responsibility and as the girl was only 16, parental responsibility, kick in? Why blame her death on him rather than the ridiculously inebriated state she was in? He says he didn't realise quite how drunk she was, and he thought she was moving away from the train when he gave the signal - how could he have known what would happen? Most people would just stumble back not fall onto the track.
It's horrible for all concerned, but she was fucking out of her tree and that was a major factor in her death. Tragic.

KittyLilith Thu 15-Nov-12 12:34:23

This is in our local paper. It's a really sad case. It wasn't just that he let the train go with her touching it. He also didn't stop the train when she fell.

emsyj Thu 15-Nov-12 12:45:15

I think unless you have been in the Court and seen and heard the evidence that the jury have had access to, it is impossible to make a judgment.

I live in this area. This is the train I get to work every day. It has been extensively reported in the local press. As far as I have heard from what has been published, the girl in question was leaning and banging on the train windows when the guard gave the signal to move off. So if he didn't see her, it is very possible that the evidence showed he could hear her shouting and banging - I wouldn't know, I only know what's been reported, including that she was apparently banging on the windows (not just quietly leaning on the train doors). These trains are short, small local trains and this station is underground and well-lit. I read in a local report that she had already got off and back on the train again at an earlier station, and if you read the report of the hearing he agreed himself having seen the CCTV footage that it was obvious she was in a dangerous position: "Mr Johnson [prosecuting] asked: "Do you accept, looking at the video, it should have been obvious she was in a dangerous position?" McGee replied: "Yes. Now looking back at it objectively, now I know what condition she was in."

You can't really blame the parents for wanting to believe that their daughter played no part in any of it and that it was 100% the guard's fault. I can't imagine how horrendous this whole thing is for them, what a horrific way to lose a child.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Thu 15-Nov-12 12:45:34

I feel very sorry for the guard. I do think he made the wrong decision and was probably negligent to a degree but 5 years in prisonshock

It's scary stuff! I work as a Mental Health Nurse and the sense of responsibility I feel for my patients can and does lead to inordinate stress. When things do go wrong and we have had deaths, it is fucking awful! Even if you've done everything within you power to prevent something happening, the scrutiny is horrific and it really takes its toll. The thought of being held criminally responsible is incomprehensible.

I'm sure this poor man has received a life sentence of another kind having to live with what happened. I know the incident I was involved in at work will never, ever leave me and although we all did all we could and couldn't have done more, it haunts you foreversad

MrsCantSayAnything Thu 15-Nov-12 12:48:51

You're working as a guard on a train....making sure things are clear is the most important part of your job. To me he seems to have been too impatient to wait. He judged her...he looked, saw a young girl where she shouldn't be....and made a SHIT decisions. Now she's dead. His 5 years is nothing.

joanbyers Thu 15-Nov-12 12:49:07

Here is a perspective on what the guards are dealing with on these late night trains for drunks:

railforums.co.uk/showpost.php?p=1267291&postcount=135

Essentially the point he makes is that people behave like arseholes on/near the train a lot and to a certain extent they ignore it and 'there but for the grace of God go I' in terms of a fatality resulting.

Someone paralytic drunk and playing the fool will, once in a while, die, as a result of their behaviour.

emsyj Thu 15-Nov-12 12:56:36

"Someone paralytic drunk and playing the fool will, once in a while, die, as a result of their behaviour."

Hmm, I would have a lot more sympathy for that view if, say, this girl had walked from the party she was at and stumbled onto the unmanned/unsignalled pedestrian crossing that crosses the railway line (the line used by the train she took, which is a few minutes' walk from the house party she had been at) and been struck by a train. This could easily have happened - sober, sensible adults have been killed on this crossing several times.

But in this case, yes she was in a very bad way, but lots and lots of otherwise intelligent, educated, sensible people get drunk and stupid every day - did she deserve to die because of that? The jury didn't think so, and neither do I. It's a huge shame that her friends didn't take better care of her, but I have to conclude that my DMum was right when she told me (when I was 16 like Georgia) that you should never rely on other people to look after you. sad

The whole thing is just terribly sad.

Viviennemary Thu 15-Nov-12 13:00:37

It seems to me like a very tragic accident. I think five years in prison is totally inappropriate. I am sure he didn't mean to cause this death. What about the people who supplied the illegal drugs and alcohol to somebody underage. Are they not as culpable. I think it will be reduced on appeal. If people are very drunk at railway stations then accidents are bound to happen once in a while.

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