Page last updated at 14:44 GMT, Thursday, 25 June 2009 15:44 UK

Gas death family's 'justice wait'

Christi and Bobby Shepherd
Christi and Bobby Shepherd died on the Greek holiday island of Corfu

The family of two children who died on a holiday in Corfu have reacted angrily after a manslaughter trial was delayed until February.

Christi Shepherd, seven, and her six-year-old brother Robert, of Horbury, West Yorkshire, died of carbon monoxide poisoning in October 2006.

Thomas Cook holiday reps Richard Carson, 27, and Nicola Gibson, 25, face charges of manslaughter and negligence.

The family said Thomas Cook's request for an adjournment was "disrespectful".

The trial was due to start on Thursday but was adjourned until 4 February after legal applications by the defendants.

Paul Wood, the children's stepfather, read a statement saying: "Unfortunately Thomas Cook led us to believe that they wouldn't request the case to be adjourned.

We wish for the legal process to come to an end soon, doing justice to our children's memories
Paul Wood, children's stepfather

"They continue to play these games with the memory of our children Christi and Bobby and we find this extremely disrespectful.

"We flew from England at great personal cost because we have faith in the Greek justice system. Our pain for the loss of our children cannot be expressed in words.

"We wish for the legal process to come to an end soon, doing justice to our children's memories so we can then try to rebuild our lives."

The defendants are accused of causing manslaughter by negligence in relation to the children, and of causing bodily injury by negligence to Mr Shepherd and Ms Beatson, who recovered after being overcome by fumes.

Ten Greeks, including staff from the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel in Gouvia, where the family were staying, were also due to be tried.

Mr Shepherd and Ms Beatson flew to Corfu for the trial, as did the children's mother Sharon Wood and her husband Paul.

'Court's decision'

A Thomas Cook spokeswoman said: "We are confident that our colleagues acted properly and should not be blamed in any way.

"We continue to give them our full support and believe they will be vindicated by the court."

The spokeswoman said the company had "no desire" to see the case delayed.

She added: "Their deaths were a tragedy and the thoughts of the entire Thomas Cook organisation will always be with their family and friends.

"Out of the 10 defendants standing trial, there were two requests for an adjournment this morning.

"In addition, the lead lawyer for one of our defendants had been summoned at short notice to appear before a Greek appeal court and was not able to be present in Corfu today.

"In line with normal procedure, the court in Corfu was duly informed.

"We have no desire to see the trial delayed more than is necessary. It was the court's decision to fix the trial date for February next year."

Mr Carson is still employed by Thomas Cook but Ms Gibson no longer works for the company.

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Bobbi and Christi Shepherd died in October 2006 when carbon monoxide leaked from a faulty gas boiler at their holiday villa in Corfu



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