Page last updated at 11:52 GMT, Tuesday, 9 September 2008 12:52 UK

Corfu deaths trial gets go-ahead

Christi and Bobby Shepherd
The holiday firm said its staff had not broken any laws

Two Thomas Cook workers will face a trial over the deaths of two British children during a holiday on Corfu, judges on the Greek island have ruled.

Robert Shepherd, six, and his sister Christianne, seven, of Horbury, West Yorkshire, died after a gas leak at their apartment in October 2006.

Health and safety inspector Richard Carson, 26, and holiday rep Nicola Gibson, 24, face charges of negligence.

Judges turned down an appeal for charges against the pair to be dropped.

At a hearing on Monday, the appeal was made by the District Attorney of the Corfu Appeal Court, proposing that legal action against the Thomas Cook staff should not go ahead as they were not responsible for the tragic accident.

Greek justice

But Corfu's senior council of judges has decided they should be tried after ruling they should not have relied on assurances by the Corcyra Beach Hotel that its gas system was safe.

The children died after carbon monoxide leaked into the air conditioning system from a faulty gas boiler at the hotel.

The two Thomas Cook staff are now expected to face trial with 11 Greeks in November.

They will also be tried on charges of negligence leading to the injury of the children's father, Neil Shepherd, and his partner Ruth-Amy Beatson, who were left in comas for several days.

The children's mother, Sharon Wood, was in the UK at the time of the tragedy.

Mr Shepherd told BBC News he had placed his faith in Greek justice which he believed would determine who was responsible for the deaths of his children.

A spokesman for Thomas Cook said: "Even though the District Attorney's appeal has not been upheld, we continue to support and stand by the two people concerned and believe they will be vindicated when the case is heard."

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