HEARTBREAKING: Paul Stephenson (right) pictured with wife Colleen was tragically caught in floodwaters near Killarney last night.
HEARTBREAKING: Paul Stephenson (right) pictured with wife Colleen was tragically caught in floodwaters near Killarney last night.

‘WE LOST OUR HEART’: Devastated family honours flood victim

THE Killarney community is in mourning today as they grieve the loss of 69-year-old flood victim Paul Stephenson.

Initial police investigations suggest Mr Stephenson was moving cattle to higher ground when he and his car were consumed by rapidly rising water on Condamine River Road last night.

 

Paul Stephenson pictured with wife Colleen.
Paul Stephenson pictured with wife Colleen.

 

Witnesses reported the "wall of water" rose to incredible levels in a matter of minutes.

Mr Stephenson's heartbroken son, Luke gave a statement to the Warwick Daily News on behalf of his mum, Colleen and the entire family.

"Last night was the hardest of our lives," she said.

"We lost our heart and head of our home - our Paul. And our lives will never be the same.

"He was a magnetic character always smiling and willing to lend a hand to anyone in need.

"Paul was moving cattle on our family property when his ute, which was parked in a paddock, was swept away by a sudden surge of floodwater. We know he was acting safely.

"We want to express our sincerest gratitude to the Killarney community and emergency services for their assistance in the search and their ongoing support.

"On this saddest of days, we ask you to respect our family's privacy. We will release details of his funeral in the upcoming days."

 

Paul Stephenson with his extended family, as the family mourns an ‘always smiling’ dad.
Paul Stephenson with his extended family, as the family mourns an ‘always smiling’ dad.

 

Mr Stephenson is remembered by his loving wife, their three children and extended family.

Mrs Stephenson's family, The Graysons, are known for their strong farming legacy in Killarney.

The wider community also voiced their shock and condolences on social media.

"Such heartbreaking news for someone's family and to have it so close to Christmas," Mary Barbierato wrote.

"My condolences to his family, how heartbreaking for them, this close to Christmas, and after what we have all being through this year, too," Karen Patchin wrote.

A report will be prepared for the coroner.

It comes as residents reported 180mm+ rainfalls in an hour and a half Wednesday evening.


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