Corfu Deaths Inquest Update

A jury at the inquests into the deaths of two West Yorkshire children has been told by a coroner the only conclusion it can come to is unlawful killing.

Bobby and Christi Shepherd died of carbon monoxide poisoning during a holiday on the Greek island of Corfu.

A two-week long hearing in Wakefield has heard how the six and seven year old died at the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel when they were overcome by fumes from a faulty boiler.

The children, from Horbury, near Wakefield, were on a half-term break with their dad, Neil, and his partner, now wife, Ruth, when the tragedy happened in October 2006.

Summing-up the case to the jury, West Yorkshire Coroner David Hinchliff said the only conclusion it can come to ``would be a conclusion of unlawful killing''.

He said to the jury just before it retired:

"This has been a complex, difficult and sometimes harrowing exercise.

"But you have to make your determination based on the evidence that you've heard and not on any feelings of sympathy and empathy with the family.''

The jury heard how Christi and Bobby had felt ill the day before and, at bedtime, the adults were also not feeling well.

Mr and Mrs Shepherd went into the children's bedroom to help them but do not remember anything else until they woke in hospital.

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

There were a series of faults in the rusting boiler, including a failure to fit a flue, a water leak which meant it was over-working, a crucial safety device that had been short-circuited and holes left in the walls between the outbuilding and the bedroom when air conditioning pipes had been installed.

The coroner called this final error a ``bodged and botched'' job.

The jury was told a number of Greek people were also charged and three were convicted over their deaths.

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