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Firm clear in gas holiday child deaths

THE parents of a brother and sister who died from carbon monoxide poisoning said they were "beyond disappointment" after a Greek court cleared their tour company of wrongdoing.

Neil Shepherd and Sharon Wood said their faith in the company had been abused.

Christianne Shepherd, seven, and her six-year-old brother Robert, from Wakefield, west Yorkshire, died after a faulty boiler leaked gas into their bungalow in Corfu in October 2006.

The children were on holiday with their father and his partner, Ruth Beatson, who were left in a coma but survived.

Thomas Cook employees Richard Carson (28) and Nicola Gibson (26) were charged alongside nine Greeks with manslaughter by negligence.

Three judges at Corfu Town courthouse yesterday cleared Mr Carson, a customer affairs executive, and Ms Gibson, a holiday representative.

The court heard that carbon monoxide fumes at the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel in Gouvia leaked into the bungalow from an outhouse next door.

Hotel manager Georgios Chrysikopoulos, engineer Petros Stoyiannos and hotel electrician Christos Louvros were sentenced to seven years in jail.

The hotel staff knew there was no chimney for the release of fumes from the boiler. But they "wired off" the thermostatic valve, shutting the boiler's only other safety mechanism.