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  1. Updates on Wednesday 13 May 2015

Live Reporting

By Martin Coldrick

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good evening

That's all for today from BBC Local Live in Leeds and West Yorkshire.

We'll be back again from 08:00 tomorrow with the latest news, sport, weather and travel updates from across the county.

Coming up on BBC One

Phil Bodmer

Presenter, BBC Look North

Join me and Amy Garcia at 18:30 for BBC Look North as we get the latest from Wakefield following the end of the inquest into the deaths of two children from carbon monoxide poisoning while on holiday in Corfu in 2006.

Statement outside court

After nearly a decade of fighting for answers by the children's family, a jury at Wakefield Coroner's Court delivered a verdict of unlawful killing.

We'll be looking back at the case and today's verdict - and asking what next for the family?

A dry but chilly night

Paul Hudson

Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

Tonight will be dry with clear periods developing and a minimum temperature of about 1C (34F) rurally, with a touch of ground frost.

Weather forecast

Tomorrow will be dry and bright with variable cloud and sunny spells.

It'll be cooler, with highs of about 11C (52F).

Hepworth portrait comes home

The earliest known portrait of sculptor Barbara Hepworth

is to go on display in the gallery named after her.

Barbara Hepworth painting
Tom Arber

The picture of the artist was painted in about 1920 and shows her as a 17-year-old. It is to be displayed at the Hepworth Wakefield.

The portrait, from a private collection in the US, has been given to Wakefield Council.

Student selfies raise autism awareness

Telegraph & Argus

Students at Shipley College have used the social media craze of taking "selfies"

to raise awareness of the condition of autism.

Students taking selfies
Telegraph and Argus

Rashid stars in Yorkshire victory

BBC Sport

Adil Rashid boosted his chances of an England Test call-up

as Yorkshire beat Hampshire by 305 runs at Headingley.

Adil Rashid
Getty Images

With the squad for the first Test against New Zealand due to be announced on Thursday, leg-spinner Rashid claimed 4-48 for match figures of 8-118.

Yorkshire's victory ends a run of seven successive Championship draws against Hampshire

Police 'determined' to catch rapist

Detectives hunting the man who raped and attempted to murder an 18-year-old woman in Beeston in March say they

"remain absolutely determined" to catch him.

Police van near crime scene

Det Supt Nick Wallen, leading the investigation, says: "Although it's more than two months since the incident our resolve remains as strong as it was on day one."

The investigation has so far seen 1,056 potential lines of inquiry explored, 2,015 homes visited, 427 DNA swabs taken and 375 males eliminated, police say.

City's film role in focus

A Leeds filmmaker says he aims to prove once and for all that the very first moving images were shot in the city.

Louis Le Prince
Getty Images

David Wilkinson is making

a documentary called The First Film about Frenchman Louis Le Prince (pictured) who filmed grainy pictures of Leeds Bridge back in 1888.

David has told

BBC Radio Leeds: "For 25-30 years before the internet, nobody but nobody would believe the story, but we've known about it in Leeds since about 1930. I just became more and more angry that people thought it so strange. Why not Leeds?"

Latest headlines

Martin Coldrick

BBC Local Live

Today's top stories on BBC Local Live in Leeds and West Yorkshire are:

Responses to gas deaths verdict

After the inquest:

  • Coroner David Hinchliff said no-one could begin to imagine "the sorrow and grief" the family was going through
  • Sharon Wood, Bobby and Christi's mother, said there would "never be true justice" for her children
  • Neil Shepherd, the children's father, said tour firm Thomas Cook "failed our family"
  • Leslie Thomas QC, representing the family, said the firm "should hang its head in shame"
  • A Thomas Cook spokesman said the firm "recognises the pain caused by this terrible accident will never go away"
  • The tour operator said its employees were cleared by the Greek authorities

Inquest verdict: Main findings

Here are the main points which have emerged this afternoon following the end of the inquest into the deaths of Christi, 7, and Bobby Shepherd, 6, while on holiday in Corfu:

  • Jurors returned a verdict of unlawful killing for both children, who died of carbon monoxide poisoning due to a faulty boiler
  • Jury members came to a series of nine conclusions, including that the boiler was incorrectly installed and badly maintained and health and safety audits were inadequate
  • Tour firm Thomas Cook had "breached its duty of care", the jury also found
  • The coroner David Hinchliff will later make recommendations to the holiday industry

Coroner's 'eternal sorrow' for family

After the verdict, coroner David Hinchliff told Bobby and Christi Shepherd's family they had his "eternal sorrow" for what had happened.

Sign at court

"I don't think any one of us can begin to imagine the sorrow and grief you have gone through and continue to go through," he added.

Mr Hinchliff said he'd reserve his recommendations and asked for representations from the lawyers present by the end of July.

Tour firm's 'wall of silence'

More on the statement made by Bobby and Christi Shepherd's father, Neil, outside the court after the verdict.

Neil Shepherd

He said: "From start to finish Thomas Cook have hidden behind a wall of silence and have refused to answer any questions for nearly nine years.

"We're disappointed they've refused to apologise to us. What's the point of a health and safety policy if it's not followed?

"What is the point of health and safety audits if they're not carried out by qualified staff?"

Tour firm 'breached duty of care'

The foreman of the jury at the inquest in Wakefield read out a series of conclusions before coming to the unlawful killing verdict, they were:

  • Incorrectly installed and badly maintained boiler
  • Fume protection device disconnected deliberately
  • Air conditioning pipes badly fitted
  • The hotel misled/lied to the tour operators about the gas supply to the hotel/bungalow
  • The resort audit carried out in 2004 by the tour operators was inadequate
  • The monthly health and safety audit form was inadequate
  • The resort staff were not given enough health and safety information regarding how to identify the presence of gas/electric water heaters
  • The resort audit in 2004 was incomplete
  • The tour operators breached their duty of care

Safety systems 'thoroughly revised'

The statement from a Thomas Cook spokesperson concludes: "The systems in place in 2006, which were intended to prevent such a tragedy, have since been thoroughly revised and address the criticisms made by the jury.

Thomas Cook sign

"Thomas Cook works with dedicated specialist external health and safety experts to audit holiday properties.

"The health and safety of our customers is of paramount importance and we continuously review and strive to improve all our procedures."

Thomas Cook 'cleared of wrongdoing'

The Thomas Cook spokesperson added that the Greek authorities launched a "thorough" criminal investigation in 2010 which found three of the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel employees guilty of manslaughter.

"That investigation cleared Thomas Cook's employees of any wrongdoing.

"The coroner had directed the jury that the only conclusion to reach was unlawful killing as legally it had to be consistent with the Greek verdicts."

Tour firm 'recognises family's pain'

In a statement, a Thomas Cook spokesperson says: "Everyone at Thomas Cook was shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Robert and Christianne Shepherd in 2006.

Thomas Cook sign
Getty Images

"Thomas Cook recognises that the pain caused by this terrible accident will never go away and must be still very hard for friends and family to bear."

Thomas Cook should 'hang head in shame'

Speaking at the end of the inquest, the family's lawyer Leslie Thomas QC said Thomas Cook should "hang its head in shame".

Robert and Christianne Shepherd

Coroner David Hinchliff said he would be making a series of recommendations to the holiday industry.

Thomas Cook has been contacted for comment and are expected to release a statement shortly.

Thomas Cook 'failed our family'

The children's father Neil Shepherd said he was disappointed tour operators Thomas Cook refused to apologise to the family for the tragedy.

Neil Shepherd

He told reporters outside Wakefield Coroner's Court: "Thomas Cook are not blameless. [They] failed our family. That boiler room should have been checked.

"The bottom line is, had Thomas Cook followed its own health and safety policy, Christi and Bobby would be alive today."

At the scene: What happens now?

Danny Savage

North of England Correspondent, BBC News

Since Bobby and Christi's deaths nine years ago, there has been a criminal trial and finally, after a lengthy legal process, an inquest.

Neil Shepherd
AFP/Getty Images

So what happens now? The Crown Prosecution Service has already concluded there was insufficient evidence to prosecute anyone in the UK in relation to the case.

Bobby and Christi's parents say they hope this is the last time they have to go through the painful details.

But, above all, they hope all the publicity will prevent this happening to another family.

'No true justice'

Speaking on the steps of Wakefield Coroner's Court, Bobby and Christi's mother Sharon Wood said the inquest had bought the case to a "respectful end".

Sharon Wood

Reading a statement to the press after the two-week hearing, she added: "There will never be true justice for the deaths of my two innocent children.

"[The verdict] has brought this tragedy to a respectful conclusion. Rest in peace our beautiful angels."

'I will always hold Thomas Cook responsible'

Reacting to the verdict, Bobby and Christi's mother Sharon Wood (pictured) continued to

place the blame for her children's death at the door of tour operator Thomas Cook.

She said: "It's clear Thomas Cook should and could have identified that lethal boiler.

Neil Shepherd and Sharon Wood have campaigned

"They put Bobby and Christi in that bungalow and I will always hold them responsible for their deaths."

'Harrowing and difficult case'

Delivering his verdict, coroner David Hinchliff said it had been a "harrowing and difficult case".

He said he would encourage steps be made to change the way the travel industry is regulated.

"It's important that lessons are learned and that something good comes out of [this]," he added.

Deaths blamed on faulty boiler

The inquest jury in Wakefield heard there were a number of faults in the rusting boiler in Corfu responsible for Christi and Bobby's deaths, including:

  • A failure to fit a flue
  • A water leak which meant the boiler was over-working
  • A crucial safety device had been short-circuited
  • Holes had been left in the walls between the outbuilding and the children's bedroom

West Yorkshire coroner David Hinchliff called this final error a "bodged and botched" job.

Children found by chambermaid

Bobby and Christi Shepherd were found dead by a chambermaid in their hotel room, three days after they arrived on the Greek island.

Neil and Ruth Shepherd

Post-mortem tests revealed carbon monoxide levels in their bloodstreams were 56.8% and 60.7% respectively. Levels above 50% are fatal.

Neil and Ruth Shepherd (pictured) were also found in comas but later recovered. The children's mother, Sharon Wood, learned about her children's death on the radio at home in West Yorkshire.

Thomas Cook 'breached duty of care'

Bobby and Christi

were on a half-term break with their father, Neil, and his partner, now wife, Ruth, when they died.


They were overcome by fumes from a faulty hot water boiler housed in an outbuilding, inquest jurors heard.

Summing-up the case to the jury today, West Yorkshire Coroner David Hinchlif said tour operators Thomas Cook "breached their duty of care".

BreakingCorfu gas deaths verdict

Lauren Potts

BBC Local Live

Two children from Wakefield who died from carbon monoxide poisoning while on holiday in Corfu

were unlawfully killed, an inquest jury has found.

Christianne and Bobby Shepherd

Christianne and Bobby Shepherd, aged seven and six and from Horbury, died at the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel in October 2006.

More to follow.

Missed Warnings: The Bradford City Fire


In May 1985, 56 football fans died when a fire destroyed the main grandstand during a football match between Bradford City and Lincoln City.

Bradford fire memorial service

BBC correspondent Robert Hall reported from Valley Parade that day,

and for the 30th anniversary this week he returned to speak to some of those whose lives changed forever.

He also examined the circumstances which led to the disaster and why safety warnings appeared to have been ignored.

'Fingers crossed' for Giants

Jake Katborg

Sports Journalist, BBC Radio Leeds

Huddersfield Giants' Luke Robinson says he wants the team to put

last year's controversial Challenge Cup exit to St Helens behind them when they face Leeds on Saturday.

The Giants lost 17-16 after Danny Brough's last ditch drop goal was ruled by the referee to have gone wide. Luke Walsh went straight up the other end and scored a one-pointer to win.

Robinson says: "It was just heartbreaking to go out in that manner, it was horrendous. So, fingers crossed that won't happen to us this year."

New CCTV images in hunt for rapist

New CCTV images have been released of the man police are hunting over the rape and attempted murder of an 18-year-old woman in Beeston, Leeds, in March.

New CCTV footage
West Yorkshire Police

The footage shows the man on the night of the attack as he walks past Napoleon's Casino in Kirkstall Road, before crossing the road.

Det Supt Nick Wallen says: "At one point he's seen to stoop down and it's possible this could be him arming himself with the stone he used to attack the victim."

A mostly dry and sunny afternoon

Paul Hudson

Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

This afternoon will be dry with sunny spells.

Weather forecast

There will, however, be a small risk of an isolated shower to the west in places towards or over the Pennines.

The top temperature will be about 15C (59F).

Latest headlines

Martin Coldrick

BBC Local Live

Today's top stories on BBC Local Live in Leeds and West Yorkshire so far are:

Cairns 'finished' at Leeds

Jake Katborg

Sports Journalist, BBC Radio Leeds

Leeds United goalkeeper Alex Cairns has revealed on social media that he's leaving Elland Road.

He made just one substitute appearance for United's first team.


tweeted: "My time @LUFC is finished from today. Would like to thank the club for giving me my first step in football, all the staff, players and fans that have helped me through my time at the club it's been a good one and I thank you all!"