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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 February 2008, 12:25 GMT
Justice plea for fall death son
Pam and George Cummings
Mrs Cummings wants the original verdict upheld
The mother of a holidaymaker who died after falling from a balcony has told a Greek court she desperately needs justice so she can grieve for her son.

Christopher Rochester, from Chester-le-Street, County Durham, died after being left on a hospital trolley.

His family is privately prosecuting Stergios Pavlidis, Georgos Karavolias and Mihalis Sokorelos, who were cleared on appeal of causing his death.

Pam Cummings told the Rhodes court re-trial her son had died in "agony".

If the doctors are acquitted, the Greek legal system does not allow a further appeal.

'Something terrible'

Mr Rochester, 24, died of internal bleeding at the Andreas Papandreou Hospital in Rhodes, where he was left unattended for three hours after falling from the balcony in Faliraki.

Mrs Cummings told the court's three judges: "I am standing here, coming to Greece for the sixth time to see justice upheld for the death of my son.

"I received a phone call from my eldest son Keith informing me of Chris's death.

"He told me Chris had had an accident and was taken to hospital. He said, 'Mam, they did nothing for him, Mam, they did nothing for him'.

"Almost immediately, through my shock and grief I understood something terrible had happened."

Chris's last few hours were spent in excruciating pain, knowing that nobody was helping him in his distress
Pam Cummings

The doctors were convicted of manslaughter by neglect and sentenced to three years imprisonment in 2002.

Their sentences were deferred until after they appealed.

However, three years later they successfully appealed against the conviction. Mrs Cummings and her husband George immediately challenged the ruling and the Greek Supreme Court ordered a re-trial.

When the holidaymaker's body was returned to the UK, a post-mortem examination found one of his kidneys was missing.

An organ was later sent to the family, but tests failed to produce a DNA match. A separate investigation into the kidney mix-up is continuing.

An inquest in Britain recorded a verdict of accidental death contributed to by neglect.

Christopher Rochester
Mr Rochester died after being left on a hospital trolley

Mrs Cummings added: "If Chris had been given the attention he was entitled to, he would still be alive today.

"It keeps being said that Chris was drunk and uncooperative.

"Even if he was drunk and uncooperative because he was in agony, he was still entitled to the best medical care.

"It is only proper that these people be punished in the same severe way as they were by the court in the first instance.

"Chris's last few hours were spent in excruciating pain, knowing that nobody was helping him in his distress and telling his friend David he was dying."

Only Mr Pavlidis and Mr Karavolias were in court, as Mr Sokorelos claimed he was "too stressed" to attend the hearing.

The trial continues.

Christopher's stepfather on his hopes for the retrial


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