Bobby and Christi Shepherd inquest: Mum accuses Thomas Cook of “gross negligence”

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The mother of Bobby and Christi Shepherd has accused tour operator Thomas Cook of “gross negligence” over the death of her children.

Bobby, six, and Christi, seven, died of carbon monoxide poisoning while on holiday in Corfu with their dad Neil and his then partner, now wife, Ruth.

The children’s mother Sharon Wood told the inquest at Wakefield Coroner’s Court that carbon monoxide from the faulty boiler killed her two children

Mrs Wood said: “The fact is that this is not just a difference in legal standards abroad. This is gross negligence.

“I think we have got to look a bit further up the chain of command of Thomas Cook. We pay tour operators to protect our friends and family when they go abroad.

“Whereas, actually, they have done nothing more than you could do yourself.”

Mrs Wood told the court she heard about the deaths of two children from Wakefield on the radio and immediately began to worry.

Reading from a statement given by Mrs Wood, Coroner David Hinchliff, said: “Thirty minutes later, two police officers came to the door and asked if you was Christi and Bobby’s mother.

“They informed you that your children had died and the your ex-husband and his partner were not expected to regain consciousness.

“Your father and partner Paul were there and you were all suffering from shock and were unable to properly process the information.”

Mrs Wood and her then partner, now husband Paul, flew out to Corfu the next day.

But when she arrived in Corfu she was told she would have to wait to see them.

Mrs Wood said: “I was expecting to be taken directly to see the children but the next day was a bank holiday in Greece and I was told I wouldn’t see them for two days.”

Mrs Wood said she was taken to see Bobby and Christi on October 28, 2006, two days after their deaths.

She said her children “were never apart” and “did everything together.”

Reading Mrs Wood’s statement, Mr Hinchliff added: “You say that you struggle to deal with everyday life and you now struggle with stress and anxiety.

“You say that life will never be the same but it’s bearable because of your three beautiful boys and the love and support of your husband Paul.

“You say you want the inquest to bring the opportunity to hear the full facts as to how failings led to your children’s deaths.”

The hearing continues.