Inquest into Corfu holiday deaths begins

Inquest into Corfu holiday deaths begins

The long-awaited inquiry in to the deaths of two children on a Thomas Cook holiday in Corfu has started.

The jury has been sworn in to hear evidence of the deaths of Robert and Christianne Shepherd, aged six and seven, due to carbon monoxide poisoning in October 2006.

The incident had huge health and safety ramifications for the travel industry and led to staff at the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel being jailed.

Two Thomas Cook reps were also initially charged following the deaths but the cases were eventually dropped.

In July 2013 Cook won damages against the hotel operator following a High Court case to determine which firm was legally responsible.

This morning the coroner at Wakefield Coroners' Court described the deaths as "a most appalling tragedy".

Coroner David Hinchliff said the children died on "what should have been a happy half-term break".

The start of the inquiry had been delayed due to the ongoing legal proceedings in Greece.

The family was granted legal aid in May to pursue the inquest after an initial application was turned down.

The children’s father Neil and his wife Ruth were in court for the start of the inquiry. Both were found unconscious in the holiday bungalow where the children died.

The children's mother, Sharon Wood, also attended the start of the hearing.

The inquest will determine the facts of the deaths and will hear from engineers from the hotel.

The court was told a boiler adjacent to the room the family was staying in had been incorrectly installed and leaked fumes into the property.


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