VIDEO - Bobby and Christi Shepherd inquests: Mum will always blame Thomas Cook for deaths
The mother of two children who were poisoned while on a Thomas Cook holiday in Corfu said she will always hold the tour operator responsible for their deaths.
Horbury schoolchildren Bobby and Christi Shepherd were killed when carbon monoxide fumes from a faulty boiler seeped into the bungalow they were staying in.
The children had been on a half-term holiday with their father Neil and his then partner, now wife, Ruth, in October 2006.
Their mum Sharon Wood spoke out after an inquest jury found the children were unlawfully killed after the travel company “breached its duty of care.”
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Mrs Wood said: “For everybody whose lives Christi and Bobby touched, I’m hugely relieved that finally our fight for justice is over.
“Whilst we appreciate there were criminal convictions in Corfu, it is clear that Thomas Cook could and should have identified that lethal boiler.
“Thomas Cook put Christi and Bobby in that bungalow and I will always hold Thomas Cook responsible for their deaths.”
The family’s solicitor Leslie Thomas QC said the company should “hang its head in shame” over the deaths of Bobby and Christi.
And the children’s dad Neil Shepherd said Thomas Cook had “failed his family.”
He said: “The bottom line is, had Thomas Cook followed its own policy Christi and Bobby would be alive today.”
The inquest heard from the current and former chief executives of Thomas Cook.
Manny Fontenla-Nova, who was in charge at the time of the children’s deaths, told the hearing he “deeply regrets the incident.”
But when questioned by Mr Thomas QC last week, he used his legal right not to answer any questions which may have incriminated him.
Mr Thomas QC said to him: “I invite you to look my clients in the eye and show sympathy.”
Mr Fontenla-Nova looked at Mrs Wood and said: “I deeply regret the incident that occured.
The company’s current chief executive Peter Fankhauser, also gave evidence last Thursday.
When asked if wanted to say sorry to the family, he said: “I really feel thoroughly sorry from the deepest of my heart, sorry. But there is no need for an apology because there was no wrongdoing done by Thomas Cook.”
After the two-week hearing a Thomas Cook spokeswoman said: “Everyone at Thomas Cook was shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Robert and Christianne Shepherd in 2006. Thomas Cook recognises that the pain caused by this terrible accident will never go away and must be still very hard for friends and family to bear.
“The Greek authorities launched a thorough criminal investigation in 2010 which found three of the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel employees guilty of manslaughter; that investigation cleared Thomas Cook’s employees of any wrong doing.
“The Coroner had directed the jury that the only conclusion to reach was unlawful killing as legally it had to be consistent with the Greek verdicts.
“The systems which were in place in 2006, which were intended to prevent such a tragedy, have since been thoroughly revised and address the criticisms made by the jury.
“Thomas Cook works with dedicated specialist external health and safety experts to audit holiday properties. The health and safety of our customers is of paramount importance and we continuously review and strive to improve all our procedures.”