The heartbroken husband of a newly-wed who died on her Fiji honeymoon has revealed grim details of the moment he identified her body in a shipping container.
Sydney woman Kelly Clarke, 24, died of severe bilateral pneumonia in Lautoka Hospital, north of Nadi on Friday night, 30 hours after she complained of stomach pains.
Recalling the heart-wrenching moment he identified his late wife’s body, Chase Clarke, 28, said ‘it was disgusting’.
‘They put her body in a refrigerated shipping container and I pulled the sheet off her head and saw her lying there with other bodies on shelves,’ he told The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday.
‘That’s not something I ever envisaged doing, that image is now in my mind.’
The tearful carpenter, 28, said he was still in shock after his wife’s sudden death.
‘Nothing I can say will ever bring back Kelly… I blame myself, the guilt is heavy, no one else, had we not gone to Fiji on our honeymoon she might still be alive today. I will always wonder.’
The body of the young nurse arrived back in Sydney at 10.30pm on Monday.
Mr Clarke flew back to Sydney on a separate private jet, landing at 1am on Tuesday.
Upon arrival, he said he needed to dress her body in clothes before it was wrapped in a body bag.
Mrs Clarke, a nurse at Westmead Children’s Hospital, was initially thought to have typhoid, however her family has since revealed she died of severe bilateral pneumonia.
The family were initially told it would cost $61,000 to bring the young woman home – but her insurance covered the cost.
Mrs Clarke’s family has remembered her as an ‘amazing human being’ who had a big heart and time for anyone.
Her husband described the death as a ‘horrible situation’ that should never have happened.
‘She told me she was scared she was going to die,’ he told the Seven Network on Sunday.
‘I told her I loved her.’
‘This horrible situation shouldn’t have happened,’ Mr Clarke said.
Mrs Clarke’s brother, Murray Shaw, posted a loving tribute to his sister after she died.
‘Kelly has passed away,’ he wrote.
‘She went into cardiac arrest five times in the last hour and the medivac team didn’t make it in time.
‘You (were a) beautiful girl and amazing sister you will be deeply missed,’ he wrote.
The family made a fundraising page to help bring the young woman home before she died, more than $52,000 was donated.
‘All your kind donations will go a long way to support her husband and family in the difficult times to come,’ the family wrote on the site.