North East Wales

Paul Wilcox killed by shark at Byron Bay, Australia

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Media captionPaul Wilcox's mother said he was "very loyal, cheerful and considerate"

The mother of a man killed by a shark in Australia says he died "doing what he wanted to do".

Paul Wilcox, 50, suffered severe leg injuries during the attack off a beach in Byron Bay, the most easterly point on the mainland.

His parents, Marie and Bryan, of Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr in north Wales, spoke to their son hours before he died on his regular morning swim.

Ms Wilcox said of her son: "I adored him".

She added: "Paul and I - I can honestly say - since he was an adult....never had a cross word.

"I absolutely adored him and I want people to know that."

Image copyright Westpac Life Saver Rescue
Image caption Eyewitnesses said they spotted a "six or seven foot" shark in the water

She described her son as a "very loyal" person who "loved his hugs".

She said it was a "blessing" that his death had probably been quick, adding: "He died doing what he wanted to's not as though somebody attacked him in the street.

"It's not as though he was shot in Afghanistan which mothers have had to go through."

She added: "I had a happy, well-adjusted, lovely, lovely son talking to me the day before - 24 hours later he's dead and I still can't take it in."

A swimmer brought Mr Wilcox to shore but he was pronounced dead.

Image copyright Paul Wilcox About me page
Image caption Ms Wilcox said: "I still can't take it in"

Beaches in the area were temporarily closed and people were warned to stay out of the water.

Mr Wilcox, who moved to Denbighshire as a child with his family, was an information technology specialist and emigrated in the 1980s.

He sustained severe injuries on his right leg at the popular tourist destination in New South Wales.

"At 10:45 police and paramedics were called to Main Beach after reports of a shark attack," New South Wales police said in their initial statement.

"He was in the water when he was bitten. He was seen floating in shallow water, close to the shore line, and dragged onto the beach. An ambulance was called and he was pronounced dead a short time later."

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Media captionLifeguard Scott McCartney says people are scared at how close to shore the attack was

It was reported that Mr Wilcox's wife was watching from the shore.

Witness Mark Hickey said he tried to help.

"I saw what looked like seaweed but it was blood in the water," he said.

"I didn't know it was a person but when I realised, I ran out and waded to the bank and grabbed him and did CPR, but it was too late."

He told local media he saw a "six or seven foot" shark in the water.

Rescue organisation Surf Lifesaving Australia said the beach was not supervised at the time of the attack, as it had occurred a week before seasonal duties.

"At the council's request, lifeguards will be on duty for at least the next 24 hours ensuring the water remains clear," it said in a statement.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Australian police said investigations into the shark attack were still ongoing

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