A THIRTEEN-year-old girl was killed by an exposed electrical wire touching a metal ladder being used by her father to retrieve Christmas decorations, an inquest has heard.
Georgia Marshall, of West Walk, Barry, died in November when she touched the aluminium ladder which was conducting 240 volts of electricity.
An inquest at Cardiff Coroner's Court today (February 24) heard how, on the morning of November 30 last year, father-of-seven Richard Marshall had decided to collect the Christmas decorations from the attic.
While putting boxes into rooms on the landing, Mr Marshall heard a thump and found Georgia lying underneath the hatch, halfway into a bedroom.
Assuming that Georgia was pretending to be asleep, a prank she had pulled many times before, Mr Marshall carried on collecting boxes.
It was only ten minutes later, when his wife Glenda and another family member suffered small shocks from the ladder, that Mr Marshall realised something was wrong.
Unable to rouse Georgia, an ambulance was called while Mrs Marshall attempted to resuscitate her daughter.
Paramedics were unable to save Bryn Hafren Comprehensive pupil Georgia, who was pronounced dead shortly afterwards at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff. It is believed that she died almost instantly following the shock.
Electrical expert Paul Farley, of Western Power, explained what he discovered when he investigated the ladder and attic following the tragic accident.
He found an electric bulb in the attic being powered by an extension cord which was wrapped around the ladder and had been plugged into a socket in one of the rooms below.
The lead had split, exposing a live wire which was conducting electricity through the ladder when Georgia touched it.
Mr Farley said that he believed the lead had become worn after years of rubbing against the ladder as it was lowered and put back into the attic.
He added that Georgia may have received a bigger shock than others who touched the ladder had she gripped it with two hands, or if she had been stood on a brass runner on the landing carpet near where she fell.
Describing their daughter as a fun-loving but shy girl who seemed to be coming out of her shell in her teens, mum Mrs Marshall said the family had been completely devastated by her death.
Mr Marshall described his daughter as a very bright girl who could have done anything she wanted to in her future.
Coroner Christopher Woolley recorded a verdict of accidental death and was quick to make it clear that the family could not blame themselves for the death.
"I don't think that blame should be issued at Mr Marshall," he said. "No-one could have seen the wear on the flex at that point.
"The family should not blame themselves."