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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 October 2006, 22:29 GMT
Corfu hotel defends its conduct
Mother Sharon Wood with husband Paul
The children's mother identified them
The Corfu hotel where four staff are facing manslaughter charges over the deaths of two UK children from carbon monoxide poisoning has defended itself.

Manager George Chrysikopoulos said the hotel knew of nothing wrong in the bungalow where Robert Shepherd, six, and sister Christianne, seven, died.

The boiler under police investigation was inspected in April, he said.

The hotel manager, owner and two maintenance staff face up to five years in jail if convicted of manslaughter.

Mr Chrysikopoulos, speaking through his assistant, said the whole complex at the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel in Gouvia was inspected for safety in April before the tourist season began.

It should not have happened, but it did, but it does not mean resorts in Corfu are not safe
Kostas Dendrinos
Corfu's Association of Hotel Managers

"We had no information at any time that would point to any problem with this bungalow, any other or the hotel prior to this tragic incident," he said.

"Experts have been appointed by the hotel from the National Technical University of Athens.

"Those experts will examine the installation of the bungalow as soon as the police release it. We cannot start with our investigation until that happens."

Bungalow B112, where the family stayed, was renovated seven years ago and its boiler replaced two years ago, with annual inspections since, he said. The last inspection took place in April by an independent expert.

'Inconsolable'

Responding to reports that two people who stayed in the bungalow in the week before the tragedy had also fallen ill, he said two doctors found they were suffering gastroenteritis.

The children's father, Neil Shepherd, 38, who was found alongside them in the hotel room on Thursday, has become fully conscious for the first time, according to hospital staff.

His partner Ruth Beatson, 27, who was also poisoned, has been taken out of intensive care.

George Chrysikopoulos
Mr Chrysikopoulos denies the hotel was negligent

She has been told by her mother about the deaths of Robert and Christianne but it is unclear whether Mr Shepherd has been informed.

Prayers have been said for them at services in Corfu and their home in West Yorkshire.

Services took place at Wakefield Cathedral, West Yorkshire, and the Anglican Holy Trinity Church in Corfu.

Father Clifford Owen told ex-pat worshippers in Corfu the thoughts of the island's residents were with the classmates of the two dead children, who on Monday return after the half-term holiday without their friends.

Christianne and Robert's mother, Sharon Wood, 35, had lived with the children in Horbury.

Mrs Wood has visited the hotel where her children died and was said to be inconsolable.

She made a second visit to the mortuary on Sunday with her husband Paul, where she spent about 40 minutes inside the building.

A pathologist said carbon monoxide poisoning was the cause of death and the investigation is focusing on the room's gas boiler and air-conditioning.

Tour operator Thomas Cook said the latest audit of the hotel showed "the property met all of the Federation of Tour Operators' requirements".

The BBC's Malcolm Brabant said the children's deaths have sent a wave of shock and panic through the Greek holiday industry.


SEE ALSO
Corfu hotel faces death charges
28 Oct 06 |  Europe

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