Trib­utes to jour­nal­ist killed by croc­o­dile in Sri Lanka

Western Mail - - NEWS - Aine Fox and El­lie Cullen news­desk@waleson­line.co.uk

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.

He is thought to have been stay­ing with friends at the East Beach Surf Re­sort near Ele­phant Rock in the South East of the is­land.

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, aged in his mid-20s, was “a tal­ented, en­er­getic and ded­i­cated young jour­nal­ist” he said, adding that he had “a great ca­reer ahead of him at the FT”.

Mr Mc­Clean, who de­scribed him­self on his Twit­ter pro­file as a “long­suf­fer­ing Ever­to­nian”, worked on the pa­per’s fastFT desk, and had been based for a time 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 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 “beau­ti­ful se­cluded beach and very safe”.

A search op­er­a­tion was launched to find Mr Mc­Clean’s body. A spokesman for the For­eign Of­fice said: “We are as­sist­ing the fam­ily of a Bri­tish man who has died in Sri Lanka.”

> Gi­ant veg­etable grower Peter Ian Neale, from New­port, poses with his gi­ant award-win­ning cab­bage that weighed in at 25.4kg at the Har­ro­gate Au­tumn Flower Show yes­ter­day. Gar­den­ers from across Bri­tain de­scend on the York­shire Show­ground every au­tumn to show off their prized crops of veg­eta­bles, flow­ers and plants in the hope of a coveted award

> Paul Mc­Clean

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