Husband pays tribute to tragic wife

A DEVASTATED husband has paid a moving tribute to his “kind, caring and beautiful” wife after she was knocked down and killed on holiday in Portugal.Tom Munro, from Clopton, near Ipswich, said his life was in tatters after his 42-year-old wife Rachel died in the horrific accident.

A DEVASTATED husband has paid a moving tribute to his “kind, caring and beautiful” wife after she was knocked down and killed on holiday in Portugal.

Tom Munro, from Clopton, near Ipswich, said his life was in tatters after his 42-year-old wife Rachel died in the horrific accident.

The couple, who had been married for nearly two-and-a-half years, were on the first night of their holiday on the outskirts of Almancil, in the Algarve, when the tragedy happened.

Midwife Mrs Munro, who was only steps in front of her husband, was crossing the road on the evening of September 3 when a car struck her.

She was taken to hospital in Faro but hours later, in the early hours of the following day, she lost her fight for life.

Mr Munro, who runs Ipswich-based import company Kingavon, said: “We had just arrived and we were crossing the road going to a restaurant.

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“We were just crossing the road and she was slightly ahead of me when I saw a car coming down the road at an alarming rate.

“I tried to stop her and couldn't. She was thrown 30 metres into the air with the force of the impact and she was obviously seriously injured.

“She was resuscitated by the side of the road and taken to Faro General Hospital, where she died in the operating theatre.”

Mr Munro, 67, said the car stopped at the scene but did not wait.

And the police did not ask him for a statement so he had to visit the police station the following day and insist his account of the accident was taken.

Mr Munro believes the driver was going too fast along the road, which was lined with shops and restaurants and had a speed limit of 90kmph (about 52mph).

However, after visiting a lawyer in the Algarve he was told the chances of a prosecution against the driver were minimal, as it would be viewed as another case of a tourist killed while not looking the right way.

He said: “My wife was a beautiful 8stone, 5ft tall woman and she was thrown 30 metres in the air by the impact. It was horrendous.”

When visiting a florist the day after the crash, Mr Munro was told there had been numerous deaths on the roads in the area recently, including a child that had been killed in that town only two weeks previously.

He said: “It is still very difficult for me now. I have a tape in my head of the accident and it is being wound round like a loop.

“But we go to these countries and we probably expect wrongly that the traffic restrictions are the same and that the laws are the same in the UK or the EEC. “What is blatantly obvious is that neither are the same.”

Mr Munro, who has visited Portugal more than 20 times, about five times with his wife, said the couple were going to look for a holiday villa while they were out there on their week-long holiday.

However, after the accident, he never wants to return to the country.

He had to stay in Portugal another five days before he could fly his wife's body home by private helicopter, but in that time he was touched by the sympathy shown by ordinary Portuguese people, including a taxi driver who called him on the day of Mrs Munro's funeral.

He said of the loss of his wife, who worked as a midwife at Ipswich Hospital: “I am devastated. Obviously I was very much in love with my wife and she was with me.

“We were looking forward to our future together. We had been together for four years and married for two years and had so many plans but my life is in tatters now.

“She was an absolutely beautiful woman and a beautiful person. Obviously she will be sadly missed.

“What everyone remembers about her is that she was beautiful inside and out. She was a kind, caring person who everybody liked.”

Mr Munro described their relationship as a “fairytale”. The couple met in a pub in Birmingham by chance when he knocked over her drink.

Within weeks she had moved to Suffolk to live with him.

They bought a picturesque 16th Century house in Clopton, which Mrs Munro, who studied design as well as nursing and midwifery, worked tirelessly and lovingly to restore.

The path to the house was yesterday lined with countless floral tributes to her.

Her husband said: “I will carry on with the work that she was doing but I will not have the same ability for design that she had. I will try my best to complete it the way she wanted.

“She was an extraordinary woman. She did it all herself and she believed in having personal things in a house.

“We chose pieces of furniture together so it was much more personal than having designers in. Looking around the rooms now, her touch is everywhere.”

The couple married on May 21, 2003, in Italy, and had two dogs, Holly and Rio.

Mr Munro has two children by his previous marriage, Lisa and Louise, both 34, who were close to his wife.

The couple packed a lifetime into the four years they were together, visiting 16 countries.

“I am angry at the waste of life,” Mr Munro said. “She was a young woman taken in absolutely horrendous circumstances at the prime of her life.”

A funeral service was held at St Mary's Church, Otley, on Thursday , which people from all over the world attended.

Mrs Munro leaves her mother Eva Wilkes, her sister Kate and brother Colin. Mr Munro thanked his friends and family for their support, particularly his brother Robert, daughter Lisa and friend George Irvine.

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed it had offered Mr Munro assistance in Portugal and consular staff would be on hand should he need further help. However it will not become involved in any prosecution.

An inquest into the death of Mrs Munro was opened and adjourned on September 13 in Suffolk.

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