Travel agent ‘no apology’ over deaths

Thomas Cook has nothing to apologise for over the deaths of two children from carbon monoxide poisoning while on holiday in Greece, the travel firm’s current boss has told an inquest.

Group chief executive officer Peter Fankhauser was giving evidence at the hearing in Wakefield into the deaths of Christi and Bobby Shepherd, aged seven and six, who died at a hotel complex in Corfu in October 2006.

Mr Fankhauser took to the witness box after one of his predecessors, Manny Fontenla-Novoa, refused to answer a series of questions put to him about the tragedy.

The current CEO, who took over in November last year, said: “

I feel so thoroughly, from the deepest of my heart, sorry but there’s no need to apologise because there was no wrongdoing by Thomas Cook.”

The jury at the inquests, which started last week, has heard that the children, from Horbury, near Wakefield, were on a half-term break with their father, Neil, and his partner, now wife, Ruth, when the tragedy occurred.

They were found dead in a bungalow in the grounds of the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel by a chambermaid. Mr and Mrs Shepherd were in comas but later recovered.

The jury has heard Bobby and Christi were poisoned by carbon monoxide from a faulty hot water boiler housed in an outbuilding.

Mr Fankhauser said Thomas Cook, which had a policy of avoiding hotels where rooms had gas hot water appliances, was lied to by people at the hotel who said there was no gas supply at the complex.


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