Final Moments of Gas Death Children; Father Tells of Poisoning on Corfu Holiday

Article excerpt

Byline: Kiran Randhawa

THE father of two children killed by a gas leak in Corfu today described their final moments to a court on the Greek island.

Neil Shepherd, whose children Christianne, seven, and Robert, six, died in a holiday apartment, fought back tears as he told how they felt dizzy and sick in the hours before their deaths.

He was speaking at the trial of two Thomas Cook holiday representatives who are charged with the manslaughter of the sister and brother from Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

The children were on a half-term holiday with Mr Shepherd and his partner Ruth Beatson in October 2006 when carbon monoxide fumes leaked from a faulty boiler into their bungalow apartment. Mr Shepherd and Ms Beatson fell into a coma and were treated in hospital.

As well as being charged with the manslaughter of the children by negligence, Richard Carson, 27, and Nicola Gibson, 25, are accused of causing bodily injury by negligence to the couple. They have pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

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

Mr Shepherd, from Horbury, West Yorkshire, told the court that he and Robert had a race as the family went for breakfast that morning and he said his son said he felt dizzy.

But he added that his son "brightened up" as the day went on and his daughter showed no signs of illness until later that evening.

He said: "About 10 minutes after we had gone to bed Christi sat up and started being sick. I immediately got up and went over to her to help.

"When I sat up I felt dizzy but my concern was for my daughter. …

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