Parents whose children died of carbon monoxide poisoning on Corfu holiday get legal aid


Parents of children who died of carbon monoxide poisoning on holiday in Corfu get legal aid

A family whose children died from carbon monoxide poisoning on holiday have been granted legal aid for an inquest after an initial request for support was rejected.

Christianne Shepherd, seven, and her six-year-old brother Robert, from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, died after a faulty boiler leaked gas into their Corfu bungalow in October 2006.

Their parents Neil Shepherd and Sharon Wood were initially refused funding for legal representation at the inquest as lawyers are not usually required.

However, following a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron and Legal Aid Minister Shailesh Vara, the family have now been granted legal aid.

Mr Vara said: "This is a very tragic case in which two young children lost their lives and my deepest sympathies are with the family, with whom the Prime Minister and I recently met.

"Questions remain unanswered and I have therefore authorised legal aid for representation at the inquest to hopefully provide much needed answers."

The two children were overcome by fumes from a faulty gas boiler while on a half-term holiday at the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel in Gouvia.

Their father and his partner, Ruth Beatson, were both left in a coma as a result of the accident but survived.

Thomas Cook employees Richard Carson, 28, and Nicola Gibson, 26, were charged alongside nine Greeks with manslaughter by negligence in relation to the children and causing bodily injury by negligence to Mr Shepherd and Ms Beatson.

After a lengthy court case, three judges in Corfu found Mr Carson, a customer affairs executive, and Ms Gibson, a holiday representative, not guilty.

The judge pinned the blame on hotel manager Georgios Chrysikopoulos, head of the hotel technical department Petros Stoyiannos and hotel electrician Christos Louvros, who were each sentenced to seven years in jail.

A full inquest is due to take place next year. Source: PA

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