A MERSEYRAIL guard on trial for causing the death of a teenager who fell beneath his train said he didn’t think he was putting her in danger.
Christopher McGee, 45, was on duty on the last train from West Kirby into Liverpool on Saturday October 22 last year when Georgia Varley, 16, from Moreton was killed.
He described seeing the Birkenhead sixth form student leaning on the train at James Street station before he rang ‘two bells’ to signal all clear but said he thought she had moved away.
McGee, who had been a train guard since 1992, told jurors that he had had cause to check the train at Meols Station when a signal light showed one of the doors was being obstructed.
He said: “I started to walk up towards where the doors had stayed open and as I got halfway towards it saw a foot stick out. I saw Georgia (who was on the platform) turn around and scoot back through the door. My concentration was on the doors staying open.”
Peter Birkett QC, defending, asked: “Just what sort of opportunity did you have at Meols Station to make an assessment of the level of intoxication of Georgia Varley?” He replied: “None. She took about five or six steps then turned round and ran back to the train.”
The court had previously heard Georgia was “very drunk” and unsteady.
At James Street she got off the train by accident, but by the time she turned around the doors were closed so she leaned on the window to talk to friends.
Mr Birkett said: “At the time did you think you needed to get out of the train? To pull her away? To escort her out of the station?”
McGee said: “No. I didn’t think she was as drunk as what she was.”
“Did you believe you were putting her in danger?” McGee replied: “No.”
McGee, of Edenhurst Avenue, Wallasey, denies a charge of manslaughter and a charge of failing to ensure the health and safety of another.
Cross-examined by Nicholas Johnson, QC, prosecuting, McGee admitted he should have got off the train and stayed on the platform.
He said: “I could have done better but I didn’t know she was in that sort of condition. If I had known I would have made one of her friends look after her.”
McGee agreed that passenger safety was emphasised during his training and regular assessments.
He said: “I didn’t think she was in any danger. I didn’t think she was leaning on the train.”
Mr Johnson said: “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.”
Asked how many times he had started trains when people were touching them, he said: "Quite a few, it just happens, it is a regular thing.
“When she took one arm off the train I thought she was moving away. I have always been convinced that she was moving away but know it doesn’t look like she was.”
Mr Johnson suggested McGee had got annoyed with her because of her earlier behaviour at Meols station but he denied this.