Thomas Cook reps on trial over deaths of children
Two holiday firm workers face a court in Greece today over the deaths of a brother and sister from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Christianne Shepherd, seven, and her six-year-old brother Robert, from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, died after being overcome by fumes while on a family holiday in Corfu in October 2006.
Their father, Neil Shepherd, and his partner, Ruth Beatson, both fell into a coma and were admitted to hospital, but survived the poisoning.
Richard Carson and Nicola Gibson, who both worked for Thomas Cook when the incident occurred, face charges of manslaughter and negligence.
They are accused of causing manslaughter by negligence in relation to the children, and of causing bodily injury by negligence to Mr Shepherd and Ms Beatson.
The trial was due to go ahead in June last year but was adjourned following legal application by several defendants, causing the family of the two children to criticise Thomas Cook.
Stepfather Paul Wood, the husband of Christianne and Robert's mother Sharon, said after last year's adjournment: "Unfortunately Thomas Cook led us to believe that they wouldn't request for the case to be adjourned.
"Therefore they continue to play legal games.
"They continue to play these games with the memory of our children Christi and Bobby and we find this extremely disrespectful."
A Thomas Cook spokeswoman said at the time the company had "no desire" to see the trial delayed and the decision to postpone was taken by the court.
Ten Greeks, including staff from the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel in Gouvia, where the family was staying, are also due to be tried.
It is believed the tragedy was caused after carbon monoxide fumes leaked from a next-door room into the bungalow apartment the family had booked for a half-term break.
Mr Shepherd and Ms Beatson are thought to have flown out to Corfu for the trial, as are Sharon Wood, who was in the UK at the time of the tragedy, and her husband, Paul.