Parents' burden lifted as quake victim identified

By Jarrod Booker

Matty Beaumont. Photo / Supplied
Matty Beaumont. Photo / Supplied

When he got the news that authorities had found something of his dead son Matty 94 days after the earthquake, David Beaumont broke into tears.

His wife, Jeanette, reacted "like Superman ... who had just jumped over a building".

"She was pumping her arms up and down and she had a look of delight on her face which was just wonderful to see," Mr Beaumont told the Herald.

"I don't think we were aware how much of a burden it was on us ... that we didn't have anything of our son."

Former television host Matthew "Matty" Beaumont, 31, was one of 116 to die in the Canterbury Television building when it collapsed in the quake on February 22. He was engaged to be married.

He and eight others in the CTV building were officially confirmed as dead at an inquest in Christchurch last month, even though no remains had been formally identified.

But yesterday, police announced they had - with the arrival of "new information" from overseas - been able to identify remains recovered from the building as belonging to Matty Beaumont and another four from this group - Chinese students Jin-Yan Leng, 30, Xiujuan Xu, 47, Di-Di Zhang, 23, and Xioa-Li Zhou, 26.

Chief Coroner Judge Neil MacLean said in each of the five cases, teeth recovered from the CTV site were matched to the quake victims.

"We would love to be able to give [their families] back a body, but unfortunately we are way past that stage," Judge MacLean said.

Evidence of 106 deaths in the CTV building is to be heard at an inquest in Christchurch beginning on June 13.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a5 at 20 Apr 2014 16:10:15 Processing Time: 795ms