The mother of a North-East holidaymaker who died in a Greek hospital after falling from a hotel balcony today said she is dreading facing five medics blamed for his death.

Christopher Rochester died in a hospital in Rhodes after falling 30ft from a hotel balcony in June 2000.

The 24-year-old, of Chester-le-Street, County Durham, later bled to death in the local hospital and his family claim it was because of poor treatment from a medical team on duty that night.

It has been claimed that it took 40 minutes for an ambulance to arrive and that Christopher was then ''bounced about'' on a stretcher and left lying on a hospital trolley despite being in severe pain.

After a lengthy campaign by his family, five hospital staff were charged with manslaughter by negligence and are to stand trial in Rhodes Town Court tomorrow.

Under Greek law Christopher's mother, Pam Cummings, is allowed to address the court about her loss ahead of the evidence being presented to judges.

Speaking at her hotel in Rhodes with husband George, son Keith and other family members who have flown out to Rhodes for the hearing, she said that she is dreading facing the three doctors and two nurses across the courtroom.

Locals have said that the judicial system in Rhodes is like a ''zoo'' with people shouting across the courtroom, mobile phones ringing and people constantly walking in and out banging doors.

One hotel worker said: ''It's crazy, a real eye-opener.

''It is mayhem in the courts and the atmosphere is amazing.''

Tomorrow's hearing will be the family's third trip to the sunshine island after the case was adjourned on two previous occasions but they are hopeful it will go ahead.

Mrs Cummings said: ''The Greek judicial system gives the victims of crime a voice and allows me to speak of the effect of Christopher's death. ''I will be representing my son, my family and all the friends and supporters that have worked tirelessly to get us here.

''I'm terrified about it all. It's not just the standing up in court it's just that it brings everything back for me.

''I hate the idea that the five hospital staff will be sitting just yards from me and fear being so intimidated.

''The court is like a zoo with people in and out, shouting and using their phones but I have to do this for Christopher.''

Her husband George, Christopher's stepfather, added: ''What we want is for these people to know that what they did was wrong and that taking his life through neglect was wrong.

''In their profession they have sworn to preserve life as best they can and if they had done that and he had slipped away then that is acceptable.

''But for five staff to stand back and let a 24-year-old die in agony and fear is unforgivable.

''They allowed him to die without any compassion or feeling whatsoever.

''If we win then hopefully this will never happen again to a holidaymaker or even a local person.''

Christopher's brother Keith, who was with him on the night, said that he was devastated when the last hearing was adjourned but is ready to face the court again as a witness.

''I did not know what to expect last time but now I will be even more prepared,'' he said.

''On the last occasion my stomach was in knots and I couldn't eat or drink as going through this brings it all back to you and ties you in knots.''

Christopher's girlfriend, Mairead Jones, of Edinburgh, said she hopes the medics will be struck off if convicted.

She said: ''If this had happened in England then Christopher would be alive today. I want them out of the medical profession.

''The way Christopher was treated was shocking, his last couple of hours must have been terrible.

''I just hope justice is done and there is some finalisation so that Christopher can rest in peace.''

An inquest in Britain recorded a verdict of accidental death contributed to by neglect.

In recording his verdict, North Durham Coroner, Andrew Tweddle, said he had ''great concern about the standards of medical care'' in Rhodes.

When Christopher's body was returned home it was discovered that one of his kidneys had been taken out and his death became the subject of a Parliamentary debate.

When his mother Pam protested the Greek authorities sent a kidney from Rhodes but DNA tests revealed it was not Christopher's.

After campaigns by his family and North Durham Labour MP Kevan Jones, who is again joining the family to Rhodes, the three doctors and two nurses were charged with manslaughter by negligence.

At a previous hearing Rhodes Town Court was told that doctors Michael Sokorelos, George Karavolias, Sergios Paulidis and nurses Pinagiotis Kalafatis and Despina Kazaki faced a charge of manslaughter by negligence.

All five defendants' addresses were given on that occasion as Rhodes Town Hospital.

All of the travel expenses have had to be met by the family, who have held countless fundraising events prior to the hearings.

If tomorrow's hearing is adjourned further they have vowed to be back until it eventually goes ahead.

Mrs Cummings added: ''We will never go away and these people should realise that we will never crumble.

''We are hopeful it will go ahead this time but if not we will be back as many times as it takes to see justice done.''