Manchester fatal gate crush girl 'asked for brother'

Semelia Campbell
Image caption Semelia Campbell died after becoming trapped between the gate and a wall outside her home in Moss Side

A six-year-old girl who was killed when she was crushed by an electric gate whispered to a friend "get my brother" before she died, a court heard.

Semelia Campbell became trapped in the "lethal" automated gate outside her home in Manchester in 2010.

Safety features intended to prevent a crush had not been implemented by the company, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Cheshire Gate Automation Ltd (CHA) has admitted corporate manslaughter and is due to be sentenced.

The gate fitter's company director Kriston Kearns, 43, has been cleared of manslaughter.

On 28 June, Semelia was playing outside her home in Carnival Place with a six-year-old friend when the gate opened to allow a car to enter the secure car park.

'Enormous force'

She ran backwards and forwards through the gap before becoming trapped in the automated gate in The Maine Place in Moss Side.

The court heard the gate failed to detect Semelia's movements and "continued to drive into her with enormous force".

Prosecutor Andrew McGee said Semelia's friend saw that she was not breathing.

"He said Semelia told him in 'a tiny voice' to 'go and get my brother'."

Semelia's mother Judith Gilroy and her brother and sister, who had moved into the property two weeks earlier, battled to free her.

Semelia was only freed when a police officer tried using a jack and two bricks to wedge the gap before smashing the controlling mechanism.

The six-year-old was pronounced dead in hospital.

Mr McGee said Mr Kearns and his co-worker had not read installation manuals.

"The gate was left in a completely unsafe, not to say lethal state, with no proper obstacle detection in place.

"It is not just careless or incompetent automation of the gate, it's cavalier."

The council-owned premises was a flagship development that was to provide "a safe and secure environment" for residents.

The sentencing hearing was adjourned and is scheduled to resume on Wednesday.

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