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  1. Calendar

Thomas Cook boss will meet Christi and Bobby's family today

Christi and Bobby Shepherd who died in Corfu Credit: Press Association

The boss of Thomas Cook will today meet the family of two young children killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in Corfu.

Peter Fankhauser, chief executive of the travel firm, has admitted the company failed in its handling of the tragedy and pledged to help the children's parents move on with their lives.

He issued a public apology to them as the company seeks to halt a mounting reputational crisis over the way it has treated the family since the incident.

Speaking after the release of Thomas Cook's half-year results, Mr Fankhauser also vowed to apologise directly to the family of Bobby and Christi, from Horbury, near Wakefield, who died at the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel on the Greek holiday island in 2006 when they were overcome by fumes from a faulty boiler.

Some customers have threatened to boycott Thomas Cook after it emerged that the firm received around £3 million compensation from the hotel chain responsible for the incident, and following criticisms from the family.

Thomas Cook said earlier this week that it would donate £1.5 million to the charity Unicef, while the remaining £1.5 million went to its insurers for underwriting legal fees.

But the children's parents, Neil Shepherd and Sharon Wood, hit out at the firm, saying they had not been consulted by Thomas Cook about the donation to Unicef.

The family have a particular children's charity they have been supporting and to which relatives and friends have been donating in Bobby and Christi's memory.

A Thomas Cook spokeswoman confirmed that the meeting would take place today but had no information on the timing or location.

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  1. Anglia

Nine years on: Apology from Thomas Cook for child holiday deaths

It has taken nine years but today the Chief Executive of Peterborough-based Thomas Cook finally said he was "deeply sorry" for the deaths of two British children killed by carbon monoxide poisoning while on holiday in Corfu.

Christi and Bobby Shepherd, who were 6 and 7, died at the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel on the Greek island in 2006 while on a Thomas Cook holiday. An inquest ruled last week that the company had "breached its duty of care".

Now the company is trying to fight back from what has been widely considered to be a PR disaster.

Click below to watch a report from ITV News Anglia's Elodie Harper

Boss of Thomas Cook 'deeply sorry' over children's deaths

Thomas Cook Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The boss of Thomas Cook has said he is "deeply sorry" over the deaths of two young children killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in Corfu and apologised for the company's handling of the incident.

Peter Fankhauser, chief executive of the Peterborough-based travel firm which is facing a public backlash over the way it has treated the family since the tragedy, told the Financial Times: "Look, I'm deeply sorry about the deaths of these two children.

"As a father I really can only express my deepest sorrow."

He added: "It is also clear to me that in the past nine years the company could have handled its relationship with the family better and treated them with more respect and for that I am sorry."

He pledged to apologise directly to the family of Bobby and Christi Shepherd, from Horbury, near Wakefield, who died at the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel on the Greek holiday island in 2006 when they were overcome by fumes from a faulty boiler.

  1. Calendar

Ex-Thomas Cook director: Corfu parents should have been consulted

A former senior figure at Thomas Cook has criticised the company over its handling of the deaths of Christi and Bobby Shepherd.

The children, from Horbury near Wakefield, died from carbon monoxide poisoning in a holiday apartment on Corfu in 2006.

Thomas Cook said yesterday they would donate £1.5 million they received from the hotel owners to the children's charity UNICEF.

But John McEwan, a former managing director at Thomas Cook says the children's parents should have been consulted about the donation and the company have been too concerned with protecting their legal interests.

  1. Calendar

Children's mother: 'I will always hold Thomas Cook responsible for their deaths'

The mother of two children who died of carbon monoxide poisoning while on holiday in Corfu said today: "I will always hold Thomas Cook responsible for their deaths."

Sharon Wood spoke out after an inquest jury concluded that the tour operator "breached their duty of care" over the deaths of Bobby and Christi Shepherd, aged six and seven.

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  1. National

Restaurant boss convicted of grooming offences

A restaurant boss is facing a lengthy prison term after being convicted of a string of grooming offences involving girls.

The Old Bailey heard father-of-five Mohammed Khubaib had a "persistent and almost predatory interest" in teenage girls.

The 43-year-old married businessman, originally from Pakistan, groomed the girls by giving them money, presents or cigarettes before plying them with vodka.

Following a trial, a jury found him guilty of forcing a 14-year-old girl to perform a sex act on him and nine counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation involving girls aged from 12 to 15 between November 2010 and January 2013.

Fellow defendant Manase Motaung, 32, was cleared of raping a 16-year-old and seven trafficking charges, involving six girls.

Remanding Khubaib, of Peterborough, in custody until May 15, Judge Peter Rook QC told him: "You must know the only sentence is a custodial sentence - and a long sentence."

Juliet Bremner, ITV News Correspondent, reports:

  1. Anglia

Man arrested over Wisbech murder released with no further action

Una Crown was murdered in 2013 Credit: Cambridgeshire police

A man arrested in November last year on suspicion of murdering Wisbech pensioner Una Crown has been released with no further action.

The 44 year old man, also from Wisbech, was arrested and then bailed.

He's now been released due to insufficient evidence.

Police have not yet charged anyone with the murder of the 86 year old, who was found dead at her home in the Cambridgeshire town in January 2013.

Spontaneously combusting tea towels start pub fire

Firefighters put out the fire at the Gordon Arms pub Credit: Google Maps

Firefighters have put out a fire started by a pile of spontaneously combusting tea towels.

The crew arrived to find a small fire in the utility room of a the Gordon Arms pub in Oundle Road, in Orton Longueville, Peterborough.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used a hose reel and jet to put out the flames. They said the blaze is likely to have been started when hot tea towels were folded on top of one another and started to smoulder.

Firefighters arrived to find teatowels had been set alight Credit: PA

"When the crew arrived, they could smell burnt oil, similar to that of a kitchen fire. A small fire was located on the first floor in a utility room, which turned out to be a pile of washed, dried and folded tea towels that had been smouldering for a number of hours.

"It is believed that the tea towels - which had been exposed to kitchen oils and grease - were folded while hot, causing them to self-heat and a fire to start.

"Although this type of fire is rare, we would like to remind those in the catering industry to ensure they wash towels correctly to remove all traces of fats and oils and therefore minimise the risk of this type of incident.

"It is also very important to remind all business and homeowners to call the fire service if their alarm does activate and they discover the signs of a fire."

– Watch Commander Darren Thompson
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