NEWS

Corfu charges issued

A prosecutor yesterday filed charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal negligence against six people including the manager of a Corfu hotel where two British children died of gas poisoning last week. Charges were also lodged against the head of the company that owns the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel, the hotel’s maintenance manager, representatives of the companies that installed the hotel’s air-conditioning and heating systems and an official assigned by British tour operator Thomas Cook to inspect the hotel. If convicted, the suspects face a maximum of five years in jail on manslaughter charges. Additional charges have been filed for causing bodily harm and violating building regulations, which carry lighter sentences. «There is no tolerance for incidents that could blacken the name of Greek tourism, even isolated incidents,» Tourism Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia said yesterday after briefing Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on the case. The management of the Corfu hotel yesterday reiterated its support for the investigation. «Our main priority is to determine the causes and exact circumstances of this tragic incident. Safety is, and remains, a fundamental concern for our hotel,» said a statement by the hotel. Meanwhile, a British coroner opened an inquest into the deaths of Christianne and Robert Shepherd, aged 7 and 6, who died last Thursday from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning due to a faulty boiler next to their hotel room. West Yorkshire coroner David Hinchliff pledged to investigate the children’s deaths «fully, fairly and fearlessly.» «I will do my utmost to ensure that the cause and circumstances of both Christie and Bobby’s tragic deaths… are exposed to public scrutiny,»