Couple's pain over safari deaths
A DEVASTATED Ipswich couple today paid tribute to their 10-year-old granddaughter who was trampled to death on safari by a rampaging elephant.Charlotte Parker and her mother Veronica, 47, who lived in South Africa, died instantly when the animal lost control in the Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe.
A DEVASTATED Ipswich couple today paid tribute to their 10-year-old granddaughter who was trampled to death on safari by a rampaging elephant.
Charlotte Parker and her mother Veronica, 47, who lived in South Africa, died instantly when the animal lost control in the Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe.
Mrs Parker's husband, Kelvin, 54, was at his parents' home in Ipswich over the weekend, recovering from the shock of witnessing their deaths.
He had to run for his life after their armed safari guard was injured and then he faced the ordeal of returning to Ipswich with the bodies of his wife and daughter.
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Charlotte's grandfather Brian Parker, of Ashcroft Road, Ipswich, said: “Our son phoned and my wife took the call. She could not believe what she had heard at first and thought she had misheard because the line was bad.
“It is devastating. Charlotte was a lovely, lovely girl. She was very bright and she could speak four languages.
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“But she was not a studious girl and she liked things like horse riding. We used to speak to her daily on the computer and we saw her through an internet link.
“She would come up and sit on her dad's lap, fiddle with his keys and the picture would go. My daughter-in-law was a lovely person as well.”
Mr Parker said his son was so shocked by the tragedy that it was difficult to obtain the details of the incident.
Charlotte was described as “top of the class” at her school in South Africa where the family had lived for a few years.
Nadie Bahlmann, a teacher, is reported in a national newspaper as saying: “Charlotte was energetic, popular and happy. The children in her class are traumatised.”
The British Embassy in Harare said the pair died when an elephant charged at them. They had been on a viewing trip in the Hwange National Park a week ago on Saturday when the incident happened. A third Briton was seriously injured.
The family, who lived in France before moving to South Africa, were on a three-week holiday when the accident happened.
Charlotte's grandmother Pauline added that her son had grown up in Ipswich and lived in the town until he was about 18 but had travelled for many years.
Do you want to send a message of support to Mr Parker? Call The Evening Star newsdesk on 01473 324788 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.