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Corfu deaths mother: Thomas Cook apology too little too late

Sharon Wood Photo: ITV/Good Morning Britain

The mother of Bobby and Christi Shepherd has told Good Morning Britain an apology from Thomas Cook was "too little too late" as she called for greater safety standards across the travel industry.

Sharon Wood, whose two children Bobbi and Christi Shepherd died from carbon monoxide poisoning on holiday in Corfu in 2006, said she still does not trust the holiday firm.

Thomas Cook issued an apology after an inquest nearly ten years after the deaths of the six and seven year olds ruled the two children had been unlawfully killed and that the holiday firm had breached its duty of care.

Christi and Bobby Shepherd died at the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel on the Greek island in 2006 while on a Thomas Cook holiday.

Thomas Cook said it had made changes in the wakes of the deaths.

Christi and Bobby Shepherd were aged seven and six when they died Credit: Family handout

Ms Wood told GMB Thomas Cook had "contributed" to the "absolutely horrendous" pain that her family have had to endure.

It is "just the lack of human decency that any company should offer to their customers", she added.

She said she refused to shake Thomas Group chief executive Peter Fankhauser's hand at a "very intense" meeting just days after he told the inquest that his company had "nothing to apologise for".

Ms Wood's MP Mary Creagh has tabled a motion in Parliament calling for every hotel in the EU to be fitted with carbon monoxide detectors.

On GMB, Ms Wood called on Thomas Cook to lead the campaign to push through the EU legislation to make safety a key issue for the travel industry.

In a statement, Thomas Cook said: "Like all holiday companies, the health and safety of our customers is paramount. Thomas Cook has stringent health and safety standards and we require our suppliers to have the same.

"We have thoroughly reviewed and implemented changes to the processes that were in place in 2006, and we are continuously developing and improving our health and safety practices across all areas.

"Since 2013 we have been working with SGS, a company specialised in Health & Safety audits. These experts regularly check our hotels to ensure the safety of our guests while on a Thomas Cook holiday."

Thomas Cook chief executive Peter Fankhauser

In the statement, Mr Fankhauser said: “In addition to our high standards of health and safety we have announced that we will appoint a respected third party individual to lead an independent review of all areas of the business relating to the health, safety and welfare of our customers.

"Thomas Cook fully supports ABTAs call for the European Union to introduce a tourism accommodation safety directive to ensure consistent, rigorous and properly enforced health and safety standards throughout the EU that applies for all leisure companies including online offers.

"This would cover all aspects of accommodation safety including fuel, swimming pools and balconies, for example. It is vital that the Commission takes this initiative forward with the support of other EU institutions to provide a more reliable and consistent safety framework for all operators in the travel industry.”

ABTA said a European wide safety directive would be the best way to ensure there are common health and safety standards across Europe and consistent enforcement.

It said: "In particular we believe there is a need for common standards for swimming pool safety, fire and fuel safety, transportation, hygiene and accommodation safety.

“The primary responsibility for health and safety lies with accommodation and transport suppliers, who are governed by local laws and standards. A common tourism accommodation framework will help deliver consistent levels of health and safety to travellers across Europe.

“Carbon monoxide incidents in holiday accommodation are extremely rare. Whilst carbon monoxide detectors in hotels can provide a warning, ABTA believes firmly that the EU’s priority should be to regulate boilers and appliances in tourism accommodation, so as to prevent issues arising in the first place.”

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