Italy avalanche: Tributes paid to Katherine Clarke and Matt Ziegler

Katherine Clarke and Matt Ziegler Image copyright Barclays
Image caption Katherine Clarke and Matt Ziegler were both said to be experienced skiers

Tributes have been paid to two lawyers who were among four people killed in an avalanche while skiing in Italy's Alps.

Katherine Clarke, 39, died alongside Matt Ziegler, 43, on Sunday while in the Veny valley near the ski resort town of Courmayeur.

The Barclays Bank employees, both from London, were found alongside two other skiers from Poland and France.

New Zealand national Ms Clarke's husband described her as an "amazing mother" with an "adventurous spirit".

Jim Clarke-Sullivan said his wife was an experienced backcountry skier who had tackled mountains all over the world.

"She was always meticulous and careful in everything she did, and though she was killed in a tragic accident, it was doing something that she loved," he added.

The family of Mr Ziegler said he was "much loved" by all of his family, friends and colleagues.

"This is obviously an extremely sad and difficult time for us, so we thank you for respecting our need for privacy so we can try and deal with our loss."

Image copyright AFP / CNSAS
Image caption Alpine rescue teams searched on foot through the deep snow near Courmayeur

Mr Clarke-Sullivan said his wife was the first woman from New Zealand to have climbed and skied the three highest peaks in Greenland.

"Katherine was an amazing mother who loved our daughter, Isla, very deeply and was completely devoted to her," he added.

"We enjoyed 14 years together and were looking forward to celebrating our ninth wedding anniversary on Wednesday."

He said her adventurous spirit had found "its home on the mountains".

A spokesman for Barclays said: "Our thoughts are with the families of all the victims, but especially those of our two colleagues, Matt and Katherine.

"We are supporting their families in every way we can, and we are supporting their friends and colleagues at Barclays who are devastated by the loss."

The risk of avalanches in the Valle d'Aosta region was marked as high by the authorities over the weekend.

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