Man charged over girl's gate death

A company director has been charged with gross negligence manslaughter after a little girl was crushed by an electronic gate.

Six-year-old Semelia Campbell died on June 28, 2010, when the motorised gate closed on her as she played near her home on Carnival Place, Moss Side, Manchester.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) confirmed it had authorised the charging of Kristian Kearns, 40, of Offerton Road, Hazel Grove, the director of a company which automated the gate.

He has been charged with unlawfully killing Semelia by gross negligence manslaughter and will appear before Manchester magistrates on March 12.

Alison Norton, specialist prosecutor handling special crime in the CPS, said: "I have carefully considered all the available evidence in this tragic case, in which six-year-old Semelia Campbell died on 28 June 2010 after becoming caught in and crushed by an electric gate in the housing development where she lived.

"I have now concluded there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to charge Kristian Kearns, director of the company that automated the gate, with gross negligence manslaughter."

Ms Norton added: "I once again extend my deepest sympathies to the family of Semelia Campbell."

Semelia's mother, Judith Gilroy, was among the first on the scene and tried in vain to free her daughter who was pinned against a brick post.

Ms Gilroy tried pressing the electronic button to open the gate, and also tried to use a remote control, but neither worked.

Commenting through her solicitor, Joanne Berry at Pannone, Ms Gilroy said: "The loss of Semelia has been devastating for the whole family. We are relieved that charges have been brought, as we are keen to see justice for Semelia."

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