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News and Events

Coroner urges action to prevent further carbon monoxide deaths

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A coroner has warned that the tourist industry and government law-makers need to take steps to prevent further holidaymakers dying from carbon monoxide poisoning.

The stark warning comes from David Hinchliffe, who has prepared a report into the risks that gas leaks pose to the public.

His findings were published last week and follow an inquest into the deaths of Christi and Bobby Shepherd, two Yorkshire schoolchildren who died while holidaying in Corfu nine years ago.

In May, jurors at Wakefield Coroner’s Court had concluded that the siblings had been unlawfully killed by a faulty boiler. Mr Hinchliffe has said that there is a risk of further tragedies unless necessary safeguards are put in place.

In his report, which has been sent to both government ministers and industry bodies, he sets out the case for a new European-wide set of safety guidelines.

Recommendations include safety checks at resorts being carried out by health and safety specialists rather than “inexperienced” tour reps, and public awareness campaigns which would encourage tourists to take portable carbon monoxide detectors away with them.

Wakefield MP Mary Creagh said that over 40 holidaymakers had died of carbon monoxide poisoning since the death of Christi and Bobby in 2006 and welcomed the coroner’s recommendations.

Travel agents group ABTA said it had received a copy of the report and would review the document in detail.

“We will consider the points raised in the report very carefully and we will provide feedback to the coroner by the date requested,” said a spokesman.

Lester Morrill’s civil liberties team has particular expertise in inquest cases and represented the family of Christi and Bobby Shepherd at proceedings earlier this year. For more information about how our experienced solicitors can help, please contact us.