UK & World News
Shark-Wrestler Sacked As He Was On Sick Leave
A man who was hailed a hero after grappling with a shark in Australia hasbeen sacked after it emerged he was on long-term sick leave with stress.
Paul Marshallsea, 62, waded in to the surf and grabbed the 6ft shark by the tail amid fears it would attack paddling children.
The charity worker, from Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, claims he risked his life at the beach outside Brisbane in January.
A local news crew caught his exploits on camera and his story made headlines around the world and earned him praise from lifeguards.
But now Mr Marshallsea has lost his job with children's charity the Pant and Dowlais Boys & Girls Club, because he had been signed off with work-related stress since last April.
The grandfather-of-one and his wife Wendy, 56, who also worked for the charity and was off ill at the time, flew back to Britain to letters informing them they had been sacked.
He has now hit back saying he was "disgusted" by the way he has been treated. He said: "What am I going to do now? There's not much call for shark wrestlers in Merthyr Tydfil."
Mr Marshallsea claims that he should have received a pat on the back for his efforts and that he only took the holiday with his wife on the advice of his GP.
"If I hadn't gone in to save the kids on that beach that day my wife and I would still have a job," he told WalesOnline.
Mr Marshallsea worked as project co-ordinator at Dowlais Engine House, where the charity has a base, and his wife was a senior youth worker.
He had been featured on Sky News for his work with the charity and once met Prince Charles, who visited to find out about the project's work in the town.
The letter he received read: "Whilst unfit to work you were well enough to travel to Australia and, according to recent news footage of yourself in Queensland, you allegedly grabbed a shark by the tail and narrowly missed being bitten by quickly jumping out of the way, the photographs and footage appearing in newspapers and television broadcasts."
A follow-up letter added: "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."
Mr Marshallsea said running the club became increasingly stressful as it gained in success and the couple were working up to seven days a week.
"We created a whip to hit our own backs. It grew so big and we didn't realise. There was no stopping it."
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what do you think?
idiot, but he got caught, good.
Sick leave from last April,then goes on holiday to Australia. Wonder why he is surprised they sacked him. No doubt he was on salary for all those months,if i was his employer I would ask for the money back
the sooner the better for me when they overhaul the benefit system. this bit of news disgusting.
him and his wife both off ill from the same job ! grabbing a shark is pretty stressful. they worked for a charity ! aparently he misinterpreted what that meant !
seems to me there are too many hypocrites commenting here. suppose he should have let the shark eat those kids that'll be the PC brigade again.
Point is if he was fit enough to do that he should be working. Expensive holiday as well.v
Just because a person is suffering from stress related illness dosent mean your blind to what's going on around you. Stress effects people in so many ways some conditions can be treated by medication, others a few weeks/months away from work.This poor chap prevented anybody getting seriously injured, would you feel the same about him if it was your son/daughter had been paddling nearby? ??
Well said theres no reason why sum1 sick with stress cant take a holiday and he risked a lot more than bein of with stress holding that shark so thankfully nobody was injured
quite agree diane
He was off for stress not because he had broken legs. Holidays can relieve stress,
what all the way to australia??? on tax payers money.
Andrea I thought Jesus was about forgiveness. You all being a bit harsh. No one knows this man's history of work.
oh come on ali.baba, australia!!! taking the mick.
I note he was a pensioner, so was he getting OAP as well as sick benefit. Was he also getting his salary paid as has been suggested? I need to be diagnosed with stress.
I think everybody needs to get off their high horse.you dont know his work history and what better to relieve stress than a holiday.you all moan about people not paying into the system but he has and you still moan.do you really think sick pay would have paid for two months in australia.not even close.maybe some people shouldnt be so judgemental.