• A Greek Tragedy: Christie & Bobby Shepherd

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    Mr Neil Shepherd, the father of two British children who died from carbon monoxide poisoning in Corfu in 2006 has succeeded in persuading the Greeks to retry the case after the Greek court found two Thomas Cook holiday representatives not guilty of negligent manslaughter. A new trial will probably be held next year.

    Richard Carson and Nicola Gibson, who have had the allegations hanging over their heads for three and a half years will now have to endure a further twelve months and more of uncertainty.

    When they were cleared of negligent manslaughter, after a protracted court procedure, Thomas Cook said the “exemplary members of its team” had been vindicated by what it called “a thorough and robust trial”.

    Thomas Cook has said that Mr Carson and Ms Gibson had not been responsible for the faulty boiler, which caused the deaths of Bobby and his sister, Christie.

    But their father, who was sent into a coma by the gas fumes, Mr Shepherd from Horbury in the West Riding refused to accept that position. He appealed against the verdicts because he believed his children, seven-year-old Christie and Bobby, six, had not received justice.

    The British Gazette has no doubt that the following commentary will not be popular but it is very easy to say the right thing when it is popular. Less so when it is unpopular, but that should not stop the right thing from being spoken.

    This situation is very wrong on numerous counts. For a start, a country with a justice system which attempts to achieve equity will not allow double jeopardy. That is the prospect of being tried more than once. This has long been a principle of English Law. Of course our Quisling politicians have now abandoned this principle – so the Greeks are likely to turn around and say that they are not going to accept the strictures of the British Gazette. The British Gazette would also draw our readers’ attention to the comments of Thomas Cook stating that their employees were “exemplary members of its team” – if Thomas Cook had doubts about their lack of involvement they would have dispensed with their services long ago.

    Finally the British Gazette would draw our readers’ attention to the phrase; “….not received justice….” What is generally the case is that the victims and their families want to see those deemed responsible punished and made to suffer. Often they will make statements along that lines off; “[AB] has got [X] years in prison. They will be out in [Y] years. We however have a life sentence…..”

    Whilst this is understandable, the victims ought to realise that their feelings of hatred towards the wrongdoer damages not the wrongdoer but themselves. Hatred is the acid of the soul. These folks who say they have to suffer a life sentence have the key to their own gaol cell. That key is forgiveness.

    Of course it will be said by some that that is a very easy and trite thing to say. Neither does it mean that the guilty should not go unpunished. But there comes a time when a line has to be drawn and a time to move on with life. The grieving process is not supposed to be a permanent state. At first, the newly bereaved can think that the world has fallen in and that happiness will never return; that overwhelming grief will never end. But it must. Wallowing in grief achieves absolutely nothing. Festering anger and even hate is worse.

    That is what Christ taught. Humiliated, whipped and tortured, nailed to a cross and left to die in slow agony – we all know what He said before He breathed His last.

    • I was in Christie class and new both her and her brother well and i don’t care what the government or even the court say IT WAS THOMAS COOKS FAULT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So even now 5 years later I still stand by my opinion that it was and even if you say I am wrong this is my opinion and it matters.

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