Wales

Bridgend gate death girl's parents' plea

The parents of a five-year-old girl who was killed by an automatic gate are campaigning to raise awareness about the dangers.

Speaking for the first time about their loss, Karolina Golabek's parents said they needed to get the message across that the gates can kill.

Karolina died in Bridgend this summer, just days after another young girl's electric gate death.

Jozef Golabek and Barbara Michalak said the deaths "should be the last".

A joint police and health and safety investigation is still going on into Karolina's death at a block of flats in Bridgend on 3 July. An inquest into the death has not been held.

The couple told BBC Wales' Week In Week Out programme: "It's very hard to speak but the reason we want to speak is for other people.

"If after this programme we can save another life - then we want to help raise awareness."

Just days before Karolina's death six-year-old Semelia Campbell was killed in a similar electric gate incident in Manchester.

Image caption Semelia Campbell died in an accident involving a gate days before Karolina

Week In Week Out found that there are fears that such accidents could become a more common danger, especially as it is estimated there has been a 35% increase in the numbers of electronic gates installed over the last five years.

There is now a drive to get the UK government to tighten the law and last month a petition was handed into Downing Street by both girls' families.

They were supported by a gate installer Richard Jackson who has set up the Gate Safe campaign.

He said: "The fact is two children died and there have been some near misses. They are just needless deaths and accidents.

"No-one checks electrical gates to make sure they are safe. I would love there to be a body that signs all the gates off. In the same way that you would sign off other installations, such as gas or electric in your home."

The Health and Safety Executive says it is down to gate installers to make sure their gates are safe and that they can do that by following their guidelines.

David Ashton from the HSE told the programme that he was concerned to think that there are gates which are not safe.

"That's why rather than wait for processes of investigations of this year's two tragedies to be completed which inevitably take some time, rather than wait for that, that's why we pulled together a very simple to read, easy to follow safety notice to enable people... to put things right whenever they find them, whatever percentage of gates require attention."

For Karolina's family, changes to remove any danger cannot come too soon.

They said: "Our daughter was the second death. Both Semelia and Karolina died because of an automatic gate. Their deaths should be the last. We need to get the message across that gates like this can kill."

Week in Week Out is broadcast at 2235 GMT on Tuesday 23 November

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