Two British children have died from carbon monoxide in a Greek hotel.

The manager of the Corcyra Hotel on the island of Corfu, western Greece, now faces manslaughter charges.
Hotel manager faces manslaughter charges over deaths

28th October 2006

Christianne Shepherd, seven, and her brother Robert, six, were found to have been poisoned by carbon monoxide fumes.

The incident occured on the island of Corfu, western Greece

The manager of the Greek hotel in which two British children died from carbon monoxide poisoning will face manslaughter charges.

Chief of security Dimitris Bineris said the manager will be charged with negligent manslaughter once toxicology tests on the children's blood have been completed.

He said the hotel's owner, its maintenance manager and an engineer who installed an air conditioning unit will also be charged.

Mr Bineris added that under Greek law the individuals could face up to five years in prison, but if they receive a sentence of less than three years they can choose to pay a fine instead.

He added that the air conditioning engineer faces charges because it is believed a hole was left between the boiler room and the adjacent holiday bungalow when a new unit was installed.

This allowed the lethal gases from the boiler to escape into the room at the Corcyra Hotel in Corfu.

The children's father Neil Shepherd, 38, and his girlfriend Ruth Beatson, 27, are in hospital in a serious condition after they were found unconscious in the same room as the children.

Medical staff were waiting to tell the couple, from Horbury, West Yorkshire, about the deaths of the children until their condition improved. A cleaner at the five-star Corcyra Beach Hotel in Gouvia discovered the family on Thursday morning.

The children's grief-stricken mother Sharon Wood, 35, brought flowers to the scene today, supported by her partner, as well as Greek and consular officials.

Earlier she was said to have been "inconsolable" after going to see their bodies at a mortuary. Guests at the hotel were today in a sombre mood as the bungalow where it happened remained cordoned off by police.

Personal items such as inflatables and children's shoes remained on the rear patio of the bungalow.
A child's poignant letter hand-written in pencil was left on a table nearby with a small paper plate covered in yellow flowers and petals.

The note, illustrated with a small drawing of a young girl holding a balloon, said: "Dear Christie, I hope you are alive. If you're not alive I will be very sad and Isabel too. From Ellie and Isabel."

Hotel manager George Chrysikopoulos refused to comment on the cause of the deaths because of the ongoing investigation, or about what measures the hotel had taken as a result.

In a statement he said: "The hotel management are deeply saddened by this tragic loss of life and extend their most deepest condolences and sympathy to the family for their great loss at this time."

The hotel was giving its "fullest assistance" to police, he said in the statement in Greek translated by his assistant.

Mr Shepherd and his girlfriend were today no longer in a critical condition and had been taken off life support equipment.

He was said to be in extreme shock while Ms Beatson, whose parents travelled to be at her bedside from Horbury on Thursday evening, has been able to briefly speak and exchange simple hand gestures with her mother.

Last night police said they hoped to speak to the pair over the following 24 to 36 hours to find out more about what happened.
Today a group of officials visited a block of bungalows near the one where the children died. Brian Armstrong, a plumbing expert, said he had been brought in by a holiday company to check the safety of the boilers.