Thomas Cook apology too little too late, says mother

The mother of two children killed by carbon monoxide poisoning on holiday in Corfu has said Thomas Cook’s belated apology and promises to change are “just too little, too late”.

Sharon Wood said that the holiday giant had worsened the familys grief. Picture: PA
Sharon Wood said that the holiday giant had worsened the familys grief. Picture: PA

Sharon Wood said yesterday that she does not trust the tour company, nor does she believe it has learned lessons.

Ms Wood also claimed it has added to the grief she and her family have had to cope with since her children, Bobby and Christi Shepherd, died in 2006.

She said: “They fought us every step of the way until those 11 jurors said they had breached their duty of care and then it was like they had flipped a coin and suddenly they were on our side. They were going to implement changes and they were sorry – it was just too little, too late.”

Thomas Cook has been hit by a new wave of public criticism after an inquest jury this month decided that Christi, seven, and Bobby, six, were unlawfully killed and said the holiday giant had breached its duty of care.

Ms Wood claimed the travel firm had “contributed” to the “absolutely horrendous” pain her family have had to endure. It is “just the lack of human decency that any company should offer to their customers”, she added.

To add insult to injury, a “very intense” meeting with Thomas Cook group chief executive Peter Fankhauser, just days after he told the inquest that his company had nothing to apologise for, included him asking her to trust him so the firm could move forward.

“Would anybody trust that company after how they have treated us?” she added.

The children were found dead in a bungalow in the grounds of a hotel. They had been on a Thomas Cook holiday with their father Neil Shepherd and his partner, now wife, Ruth when they breathed fumes from a faulty boiler.

Ms Wood hopes that Thomas Cook will rethink its levels of social responsibility and also take a leading role in a campaign to push through EU legislation to make safety a key issue for the travel industry.

An investigation found that the manager and the electrician who were convicted over the deaths are still working in hotels used by Thomas Cook.

Former chief executive Harriet Green led Thomas Cook until last year during a period in which the firm fought to stop inquests into the children’s deaths taking place in the UK.

It is believed that Ms Green could receive six million shares next month, and she said she will give two million shares to a charity to be chosen by the children’s parents, according to ITV News.