North East Wales

Meg Burgess wall death: Don't seek revenge, jury urged

A jury trying a builder after a wall he designed collapsed and killed a three-year-old girl has been warned not to "seek revenge" for her death.

Meg Burgess was crushed as she walked home with her mother in Meliden, Denbighshire, in July 2008.

Builder George Collier, 49, from Kinmel Bay, denies manslaughter.

Defence barrister Ronald Walker, QC, said it was a "natural human tendency" to want revenge, but said the case had to be judged according to the evidence.

Mold Crown Court has heard that the wall failed after pressure from infill which included soil, clay and builders' rubble.

The prosecution claimed Mr Collier, who had 30 years' experience, should have realised the wall was a retaining wall and needed to be secured to the foundations for added strength.

Mr Walker said: "It is difficult to think of anything more horrifying and awful than a child walking along the pavement being killed in the presence of her mother.

"Whether we are parents or not we cannot fail to be appalled, angry at the fact it happened, that a child died.

Image caption Meg was returning from the shops with her mother when the wall collapsed

"It was not inevitable, it was the result of human error on behalf of one or more persons.

"There is a natural human tendency to say someone should be brought to book and to convict someone, because there is a natural human tendency for revenge."

But Mr Walker said it had to be done in accordance with evidence and not to seek a result the jury might like to bring in "one way or another".

Mr Collier wiped away tears as he described how he had completed some earth moving at the site in Ffordd Penrhwylfa when he saw the five-foot wall collapse as Meg walked past.

She and her mother Lindsay and brother Wilson had been to nearby shops to buy sugar so they could bake, and Meg was walking just behind her mother as the wall failed.

Mr Collier told the court the wall was built as a garden wall and not a retaining wall.

He had been spreading spoil taken from other parts of the ground and placing it behind the wall, but when questioned by Mr Walker said there was not enough spoil to put pressure on it.

Mr Collier said he had run to help Meg when the wall collapsed. She was taken to Glan Clwyd hospital in Bodelwyddan, but was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

The court heard police had to take Mr Collier home because he could not walk.

The trial continues.

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