Gate death families back ban call

The family of a Bridgend girl who died after becoming trapped in a sliding electric gate are supporting a campaign to ban them in residential areas.

Karolina Golabek, five, died on Saturday, less than a week after another young girl was killed in similar circumstances in Manchester.

The relatives of Semelia Campbell have told BBC Wales that both deaths were "pointless".

An investigation into the Bridgend death is continuing.

Semelia, who was six, died five days before Karolina, when she became trapped in the sliding gate by her home in the Moss Side area of Manchester.

While both the gates in Manchester and Bridgend were made by different manufacturers and installed by different companies, they worked on the same sliding principle.

Semelia's cousin, Tony Walker, is now starting a campaign to ban their use in residential areas.

"Two children have died pointlessly, from an electronic gate, that's what got me," he said.

"I live in a gated community, I live by (Manchester) City's ground - by the Commonwealth Games [site], I live by there. I have a gate on my house, but mine has an intelligent sensor on it - if I walk in front it will stop and retract.

"This one didn't, it kept on going - it killed someone very important to me."

Semelia's sister, Tashieka Kellyman, tried to save her when she became trapped in the gate. She said she was shaken when she heard that the same thing had happened in Wales.

"Semelia's my sister, I loved her very much, she was a very happy child. She is going to be missed so much, I still can't believe she's not here," she said.

"When I heard, I was in shock, I couldn't believe that they let this happen again to another little girl, I couldn't believe it."

Semelia's family have now been in touch with community representatives in Bridgend for support in their campaign.

Image caption Karolina Golabek died after becoming trapped in an electric gate in Bridgend

They spoke to local councillor Peter Foley, who has met with the Golabek family.

"They're most concerned this should never happen to any other family," said Mr Foley.

"This kind of grief is more than they can bear, and they believe that these gates should be banned and they are happy to back any campaign that will lead to these gates being banned."

A police and health and safety executive joint investigation into Karolina's death is continuing.

It is known that the gates had been serviced in May this year, and no safety issues had ever been raised in connection with them.

In Manchester, two men were arrested in connection with the death there, and have since been released on bail.

The trade body which represents gate installers, the AESIF, said it would welcome a change in the law to ensure any company had to be legally registered to carry out work on automatic gates.

Its director general, John Birkett, added that his body was hoping to meet UK government officials about the issue in the near future.

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