Tragic jour­nal­ist hailed as tal­ented and en­er­getic

Sri Lanka: Fi­nan­cial Times re­porter was killed by crocodile

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - NEWS - Aine Fox

Tributes have been paid to a “tal­ented, en­er­getic and ded­i­cated” jour­nal­ist who was re­port­edly killed by a crocodile while on hol­i­day in Sri Lanka.

Fi­nan­cial Times re­porter Paul Mcclean was said to have been wash­ing his hands in the river when he was at­tacked by the rep­tile.

The 24-year-old Ox­ford Univer­sity grad­u­ate is thought to have been stay­ing with friends at the East Beach Surf Re­sort near Ele­phant Rock in the south­east of the island.

Staff at the pa­per have been left “heart­bro­ken by the tragic and un­timely death”, a state­ment said.

A search op­er­a­tion was launched and it is un­der­stood Mr Mcclean’s body has now been re­cov­ered.

James La­mont, man­ag­ing editor of the Fi­nan­cial Times, said: “Few de­tails are known about the cir­cum­stances.

“We are li­ais­ing closely with his fam­ily and the For­eign and Com­mon­wealth Of­fice and of­fer­ing the FT’S as­sis­tance.

“Our thoughts are with his fam­ily, friends and loved ones.

“We are in touch with them, do­ing all we can to help dur­ing this dif­fi­cult time.”

Mr Mcclean, orig­i­nally from Thames Dit­ton in Sur­rey, was “a tal­ented, en­er­getic and ded­i­cated young jour­nal­ist” he said, adding that he had “a great ca­reer ahead of him at the FT”.

The jour­nal­ist, who de­scribed him­self on his Twit­ter pro­file as a “long­suf­fer­ing Ever­to­nian”, worked on the pa­per’s fastft desk.

He was de­scribed by Katie Martin, head of fastft, as “a warm, funny per­son and a tal­ented young jour­nal­ist with a cu­ri­ous mind” and “a joy to be around, truly, with an imp­ish sense of hu­mour”.

Mr Mcclean was seen by a lo­cal fish­er­man be­ing “dragged into the river” by the crocodile, said Fawas Lafeer, owner of Safa Surf School.

He told re­porters the jour­nal­ist had gone into the jungle to go to the toi­let just be­fore the in­ci­dent hap­pened and later washed his hands in the wa­ter.

Mr Lafeer, who said croc­o­diles have been known to hide bod­ies in the mud, added that it is “al­most un­heard of” for the rep­tiles to come so close to the beach, de­scrib­ing Ele­phant Rock as a “very safe”.

A spokesman for the For­eign Of­fice said: “We are as­sist­ing the fam­ily of a Bri­tish man fol­low­ing his tragic death in Sri Lanka, and will con­tinue to do so at this very dif­fi­cult time.”

Paul Mcclean was stay­ing with friends in Sri Lanka.

The crocodile at­tacked Paul Mcclean as he washed his hands in a Sri Lankan river. Pic­ture: Getty.

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