Holiday Reps on Trial over Poison Deaths; Brother and Sister Died in Corfu Gas Leak

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Byline: Kiran Randhawa

TWO British holiday reps went on trial at a Greek court today over the deaths of two children killed by a gas leak at their hotel.

Richard Carson, 27, and Nicola Gibson, 25, were charged with the manslaughter of Christianne Shepherd, seven, and her six-year-old brother Robert, after they died of carbon monoxide poisoning while on a family holiday in Corfu.

Their father Neil Shepherd and his partner Ruth Beatson both fell into a coma and were taken to hospital, but survived.

The two Thomas Cook employees 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. They have pleaded not guilty.

Ten Greeks, including staff from the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel in Gouvia, where the family, from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, was staying, are also on trial.

It is believed the tragedy in October 2006 was caused after carbon monoxide fumes leaked from a faulty boiler in a next-door room into the bungalow apartment the family had booked for a half-term break.

A chambermaid found the children's bodies. The couple only became aware the children had died in the bungalow when they came round from treatment for the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.

During the trial, the jury will hear evidence on whether Miss Gibson and Mr Carson carried out the correct safety assessments at the apartment.

The children's mother Sharon Wood and her husband Paul joined Mr Shepherd and Ms Beatson this morning at Corfu Town Courthouse for the start of the trial.

It was originally due to start in June last year but was postponed at the request of three of the defendants. …