Six charged over Corfu child deaths

Six people have been charged with manslaughter over the deaths of two children from carbon monoxide poisoning in Corfu.

Court officials said that the hotel director, general manager, maintenance manager, air conditioning installation manager and a maintenance employee have been charged. Officials also said that a representative from Thomas Cook, who inspected the hotel, had also been charged, although this has been denied by the tour operator.

All are understood to have also been charged with causing bodily harm through negligence and could face a maximum sentence of five years in jail if found guilty.

Christianne Shepherd, 7, and her six-year-old brother Robert, died after being overcome by gas fumes in their holiday bungalow at the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel in Corfu on October 26.

The children's father, Neil Shepherd, 38, and his girlfriend Ruth Beatson, 27, survived, but were seriously ill after being found unconscious.

It is believed that the fumes came from a faulty boiler or air-conditioning system.

Earlier on Friday, inquests into the deaths of the two children were opened and adjourned in the UK.

West Yorkshire coroner David Hinchliff said: "I will do my utmost to ensure that the cause and circumstances of both Christie and Bobby's tragic deaths are fully, fairly and fearlessly investigated."

Coroner's Officer Jayne Melrose told the inquest that the family had gone to Corfu for a half-term holiday.

Ms Melrose said that the family "appeared fit and well" on October 25 and gone out for a meal before returning to the hotel complex later. She said that they all started to feel unwell within a short period of time and the children were sick.

Ms Melrose also said that Greek post-mortem examinations had given the cause of death as carbon monoxide poisoning and that further tests were now being conducted in order to confirm this.

The bodies of the children were brought back to the UK on Monday, along with their mother, Sharon Wood, 35, who had flown to Corfu to identify the bodies.


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