Manchester

Thailand speedboat capsize: Widower's tribute to newlywed Monica O'Connor

Tim and Monica O'Connor Image copyright Tim O'Connor/Jonny Draper
Image caption Tim and Monica O'Connor married in Manchester after meeting through work

A newlywed who was killed when a speedboat capsized during her honeymoon in Thailand was "warm, family-oriented and loving", her widower has said.

Monica O'Connor, 28, was among three people who died after the boat overturned near the island of Koh Samui.

Tim O'Connor, from Sale, Greater Manchester, survived the accident, on 26 May.

The 30-year-old said Ms O'Connor "always had time for everybody".

Paying tribute to his Romanian-born wife, he added: "She had always been a very hard worker and was very proud of what she had achieved.

"She had become a British subject after passing her citizenship test with flying colours."

Image copyright Tim O'Connor
Image caption The couple had visited an elephant sanctuary during their honeymoon

The pair had been touring Thailand before the accident unfolded, as the boat made its way back to Koh Samui from Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park.

Another Briton, Jason Parnell, also died.

"We had heard so may good things about the country from friends and family," Mr O'Connor continued.

The couple, who had been together for three-and-a-half years, met at accountancy firm Deloitte in Manchester, where Mrs O'Connor had risen to be a manager.

They later married in the city.

"She was involved in training but always wanted to help people anyway," Mr O'Connor said.

Animals were Ms O'Connor's great passion, he said, especially the couple's Chow Chow dogs Jasper and Simba. She had even considered having their wedding at Chester Zoo.

"She had always wanted to a zoo keeper but she didn't have the right degree."

Mr O'Connor, who was too distressed to talk about the accident itself, recalled how delighted she was to visit Elephant Hills jungle camp, an ethically-run sanctuary for elephants.

But he said she had also been "very upset" about the conditions at another animal reserve in the country.

"She had written an email of complaint on my laptop which we were going to send when we returned home," he said.

Her father-in-law, John O'Connor, said her love for animals had actually extended to the couple's wedding ceremony.

"She wanted one of her dogs to bring the ring up, I thought she was joking but it happened," he said.

"She also said she wanted her normal blonde hair dyed the same colour as one of the dogs, and she showed a photo to her hairdresser."

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Survivors of the accident were pulled from the sea

The boat was carrying 32 passengers and four crew when it capsized, although police said it was licensed to carry 45 passengers, so it was not overcrowded.

The sea was reportedly rough at the time of the accident, which occurred just 300 metres from the shore.

Seven people were taken to hospital with serious injuries.

Mrs O'Connor's body was returned to Britain last week.

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