Tributes paid to jour­nal­ist at­tacked and killed by crocodile at river bank

The Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

AINE FOX EL­LIE CULLEN

Paul McClean was on hol­i­day in Sri Lanka.

“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 “long-suf­fer­ing Ever­to­nian”, worked on the pa­per’s fastFT desk, and had been based in Brus­sels re­port­ing on Brexit and the EU.

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 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.

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the For­eign Of­fice is un­der­stood to be trav­el­ling to the area to sup­port Mr McClean’s friends.

A spokesman for the For­eign Of­fice said: “We are as­sist­ing the fam­ily of a Bri­tish man fol­low­ing his tragic death in Sri Lanka.”

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