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Court Hearing Case of Liverpool Boy Electrocuted by 25,000 Volts

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – An inquest heard how a teenager died instantly when he was hit by 25,000 volts as he clambered on disused rolling stock at a railway depot in Liverpool.

Liam Gill, 13, was electrocuted by the massive charge of electricity that hit him when he came close to overhead lines after he scrambled along the roof of a freight wagon.

The popular schoolboy, whose nickname was “Dudda”, was with two pals when the tragedy happened in August 2009, Liverpool Coroner’s court has heard.

A jury heard how the trio gained access to sidings at Allerton last year though a gap in perimeter security fencing.

One of the boys, now aged 15, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told his account of the tragedy that happened around 5pm on Sunday 9th August 2009.

Questioned by Coroner Andre Rebello, the dark-haired youth, wearing a grey t-shirt, spoke in a low voice.

He said: “We went through a gap in the railings. There was a cabin with grafitti sprayed all over it and chairs where you could sit down.

“We went inside the cabin and sat down for five minutes. We then climbed a ladder and got on top of the carriage. I went up first and the other two followed.

“We walked along the top of the train, walking towards the railings to get out.

“I was walking along first, and then Liam and then the other lad.

“We were walking along the centre of the curved roof. When we got to the end we could hear a ticking sound, when we got close to the wire.

“We sat down to drop off the carriage and Liam went to the other side.

“We heard a loud bang. Me and the other lad were both burnt so we ran-off.

“We couldn’t see Liam so we called for him a few times. We walked back because he wasn’t answering.

“We found him on the left hand side of the wagon. I tied my shirt around his head and ran to phone the ambulance.”

The court had heard that the youth suffered severe burns to his left arm.

Asked by the coroner whether he knew that he should not have been on the railway the teenager replied: “I know I wasn’t allowed on there.”

Mr Roger Kennedy, a solicitor representing EWS Railways, asked the youth if he had seen signs warning of the danger from overhead lines.

The replied: “No. I didn’t think the lines were live because it was a old wagon that is not used.”

The jury of two men and nine women were shown a series of photographs of the Allerton Freight Yard and a photograph of a warning sign was shown to the teenager.

Mr Kennedy said that the three boys had walked past five warning signs to get to the carriage, including two by the ladder they had climbed,

Mr Kennedy said: “Do you understand that sign means danger?” To which the youth replied “Yes”.

Pathologist Dr Jo-Louise McPartland said that Liam would have died instantly from electrocution.

She said: “With such a high voltage there would have been an abnormality in the heart. The heart would have stopped completely.

“The very high temperatures caused tissue damage. As soon as the power entered his body he would have died.”

Liam was a pupil at St Benedict’s RC High School, in Garston, and where he was a keen sporstsman.

His mother Linda Gill, had earlier told how she had performed the grim duty of identifying his charred remains at Alder Hey Hospital.

Cleaner Linda said: “I went to the hospital and I was anxious. I was taken into a room and a nurse came back. She took hold of me and said ‘I’m sorry your son is dead.’

“I started being hysterical and they picked me up off the floor. I was in complete shock.”

“Liam was a really lovely boy. He was a really nice. He was a well-liked lad and had lots of friends.

“Hopefully lessons will be learned and it will never happen again.”

The inquest continues and is expected to last until Wednesday.

Story via Click Liverpool.com

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