The Peterborough Firm's Millions, After Deaths
17 May 2015, 10:47 | Updated: 17 May 2015, 10:52
The Peterborough travel firm found to have breached its duty of care when two children were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning while on holiday in Corfu has confirmed it received compensation after the deaths.
Thomas Cook would not reveal the amount they were paid out in 2013, but it has been reported to be in the region of £3.5m.
The parents of Bobby and Christi Shepherd, who died in 2006 aged six and seven, said they received only around a tenth of that figure and told the Mail on Sunday of their anger.
Bobby and Christi died at the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel on the Greek holiday island when they were overcome by fumes from a faulty boiler.
The children's mother Sharon Wood told the paper:
"It seems our children's lives are worth only a fraction of Thomas Cook's reputation."
She said her frustration is not about money, but the family is "incensed" the travel firm sought to claim back costs after a 2010 criminal trial in Greece during which three employees from the Louis Corcyra Beach hotel were found guilty of manslaughter.
Asked about the compensation the firm received, a spokesman for Thomas Cook said:
"After it was clear that the hotel was responsible for the tragedy all parties affected were compensated and Thomas Cook received a compensation that partly compensated for the costs related to the incident."
He said the compensation covered "some of the costs incurred up to and during the trial in Corfu in 2010".
Breached Their Duty Of Care
On Wednesday a jury at an inquest almost 10 years after the deaths of the children from Horbury, near Wakefield gave a conclusion of unlawful killing, and said Thomas Cook had "breached their duty of care".
The foreman also read out a series of conclusions which included how Thomas Cook had been misled by the hotel about its gas supply, but also how the holiday giant's health and safety audit of the complex was inadequate.
Speaking after the inquest Mrs Wood said she would always hold the travel firm responsible for the deaths, saying they "could and should have identified that lethal boiler."
The children's father Neil Shepherd claimed the firm had "hidden behind a wall of silence and they have refused to answer any questions for almost nine years."
Responding to criticism from the family over an apparent failure to apologise over the deaths the spokesman said a letter saying "sorry" had been sent from Thomas Cook chief executive Peter Fankhauser.
Mrs Wood told the Mail on Sunday the firm should have apologised at the inquest.
The coroner said he would deliver recommendations later this year to relevant organisations which he hoped would influence British and European law and practices in the holiday industry.