South East Wales

Tribunal of shark wrestler Paul Marshallsea settled

A tribunal involving a charity worker sacked after his bosses saw footage of him wrestling a shark while he was off sick, will not go ahead.

Paul Marshallsea, 62, from Merthyr Tydfil, grabbed the shark by the tail as it swam towards children and dragged it to deeper water off Bulcock Beach, Australia, last year.

He hit the headlines but Pant and Dowlais Boys and Girls Club sacked him.

The two sides have reached a settlement but the details are not known.

Mr Marshallsea went on extended sick leave from his £18,000-a-year job with wife Wendy, 56, when the incident took place in January last year. They had worked at the club for 10 years.

Paul Marshallsea with family
Mr Marshallsea with his wife Wendy and daughter Rachel on their Australian holiday

The couple visited friends on a two-month break in Australia and were having a barbecue on the beach when a fin was spotted in the water.

Former coal merchant Mr Marshallsea ran into the sea where he was filmed dragging the 6ft-long (1.8m) dusky whaler shark into deeper water.

A dusky whaler shark is considered potentially dangerous to humans, according to experts.

At the time, Mr Marshallsea described what happened.

"When I got the shark to just over knee deep he turned on me and just missed me with a bite," he said.

"The shark nearly took my leg off in a split second - it was that quick."

The dramatic scenes on the Sunshine Coast were caught on video by an Australian TV news team filming nearby.

Mr Marshallsea added: "Where this shark actually came ashore, it is shallow for about five or six yards, and a lot of babies and toddlers splash about there - it could have been very nasty.

"My instincts took over and I just grabbed the shark by the tail.

"I know it was dangerous but it almost looked beautiful - you have got to have respect for a beautiful animal."

Map showing where the incident happened
The dramatic incident happened at Bulcock Beach in Queensland, Australia

But Mr Marshallsea was stunned when he returned home from Queensland and found a letter of dismissal waiting for him.

It read: "Whilst unfit to work you were well enough to travel to Australia where you allegedly grabbed a shark by the tail and narrowly missed being bitten by quickly jumping out of the way.

"The breakdown of the trustees' confidence and trust in you and your ability to perform the role is so great that we find that dismissal is the only course of action we can recommend."

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