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Father blames Thomas Cook for death of his children

Posted in: Accidents and Sickness Abroad Public Liability 

Wakefield Coroners’ Court heard that the father of two children who died whilst on holiday in Corfu in October 2006, “firmly believed” that his children would be alive today if Thomas Cook had inspected a faulty boiler.  The children, Robert aged 6 and Christianne aged seven died from carbon monoxide poisoning after complaining of feeling unwell.  Their father, Neil Shepherd of Horbury, West Yorkshire, told the court he was “paralysed by guilt” by their deaths and wept as he recalled his “perfect son” and “feisty, loving” daughter.  Sharon Wood, the children’s mother described the faulty boiler as gross negligence” on behalf of Thomas Cook.

Children felt dizzy and sick

The family had booked their holiday to Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel through Thomas Cook and arrived at the location on 23 October 2006.  On the third day of the holiday both children complained about feeling unwell.  Bobby seemed to be losing his balance and Christi complained of a headache.  The children’s step-mother said she also felt dizzy and sick and went to comfort the children as they lay in their beds.  Mr Shepherd lay next to his son and stroked his head to try to comfort him. The children were found the following morning by a chambermaid. Both had died and their parents were in a coma.

The court heard that Mr Shepherd, 46, later learned that the previous occupants of their bungalow were being treated in hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning. The boiler had been installed incorrectly and a safety device to cut-off the boiler had been short-circuited on purpose. Levels of carbon monoxide in the bloodstream are fatal above 50% – the children’s levels were 56.8 and 60.7% post-mortems revealed.

The hearing continues.

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