Byron Bay shark attack victim named as British expat

Paul Wilcox's was walking on the beach at the time

Btron bay Shark Attack

A man killed in a shark attack at Byron Bay, Australia yesterday (Tuesday) has been named as British expat Paul Wilcox.

The 50-year-old man was attacked by what is believed to have been a great white as he swam around 15 metres from shore in Byron Bay, New South Wales (NSW).

Police said his wife Victoria was walking on the beach at the time of the attack at around 10.40am local time on Tuesday.

His mother Marie Wilcox, who lives in North Wales where he grew up, told the BBC she had "adored" her son and took comfort from the fact he would have had a quick death. Words: PA

She told the broadcaster: "I had a happy, well-adjusted lovely son talking to me the day before.

"Twenty-four hours later he is dead and I still cannot take it in."

She added: "It is so cruel. My only comfort is he died rather than be injured (or) maimed, and have to be nursed.

"He was on the other side of the world and I couldn't give him my love and help him and his wife Victoria - she will need lots of comfort."

Mr Wilcox, who was born in Coventry, is reported to have emigrated almost 30 years ago, living in Sydney before moving to Byron Bay, a popular resort town south of the Gold Coast in northern NSW.

NSW Police said Mr Wilcox was bitten on the right leg off Clarkes Beach, with a spokesman saying: "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."

Byron Bay Shark Attack

Surf Life Saving New South Wales (SLS) said it believed Mr Wilcox was swimming a popular route between the beach and a point called The Pass when he was attacked.

It is currently spring in Australia and SLS said there were no lifeguards on duty because local cover starts on September 20.

Byron Shire Council, the local authority, has closed the beach for 24 hours and said that lifeguards will be posted to keep people out of the water.

Local television showed pictures of a shark they said was a three to four metre great white not far from Byron Bay shortly after the fatal attack.

The man who pulled Mr Wilcox from the water told the Australian Associated Press how he ran into the water after seeing the attack by what he said was a six to seven-foot shark.

Lawyer Mark Hickey, from Newcastle in NSW, told AAP: "The shark came back to him and had another go.

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

Australia has seen several fatal shark attacks in recent years and this latest one is likely to reignite the debate over how to best deal with the dangerous animals where they come into contact with humans.

The great white, which can be found in waters all around the continent, are a protected species.

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