Belfast Telegraph

Irish family's grief as Christchurch earthquake victim's body identified

A family was yesterday left "shattered" and "heartbroken" following the identification of the body of an Irishman in Christchurch.

JJ O'Connor (40), who was originally from Lisereen, Abbeydorney, Co Kerry, had been missing since the building in which he worked collapsed in the aftermath of last month's earthquake.

The father of one worked as an accountant on the first floor of the Pyne Gould Guinness building in Christchurch.

He and his New Zealand-born wife Sarah had been expecting their second child in May. The couple already had a two-year-old son, Dan.

Mr O'Connor's mother Sheila, his brothers and sisters received confirmation that his body had been identified yesterday morning. Mr O'Connor's wife Sarah rang the family early yesterday morning to break the news.

"It has stopped the waiting and the wondering, but the family is shattered and heartbroken," Mr O'Connor's uncle Denis O'Connor said last night.

Mr O'Connor had relocated to New Zealand in October. He had been based in London before that. After completing his Leaving Cert Mr O'Connor studied accountancy and soon afterwards emigrated to England where he met his wife Sarah. Described as a "lovely fellow", the young GAA player was remembered as a promising footballer who had lined out with the now-disbanded Brick Rangers football club.

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