THEY were a picture of joy when they married 12 days ago - but now newlywed Gemma Houghton is mourning her husband after he was killed in a shark attack on their honeymoon in the Seychelles.
The news of Ian Redmond’s death has shocked the picturesque communities of Dalton, where Ms Hougton’s parents David and Coleta Houghton were well known, and Roby Mill, where the couple had bought and were renovating a country cottage.
Ms Houghton, 27, who works as a primary school teacher in Skelmersdale, was sunbathing on their idyllic holiday island when her husband was mauled by a 6ft shark while snorkelling.
He was brought to shore and rushed to hospital, but he had lost an arm, had a badly damaged leg and holes in his chest and stomach from bites.
Doctors were unable to save him.
Mr Redmond’s father, Stephen, who lives with his wife Corinne in Nelson, Lancashire, said: “Gemma’s mother and father are with her. She is still in shock as we all are. It’s devastating. The last time we saw them they were so happy.”
Other relatives told how they were looking forward to welcoming Mr Redmond, an IT worker, and his new bride home on Sunday.
Her uncle Ken Houghton said: “Ian was a really nice guy and well-liked by everybody. He always did the right thing and they made a super couple, very much in love.
“I can honestly say their wedding was the best wedding I’ve ever been to. It was perfect. We had a family gathering at the weekend and their wedding was the only topic of conversation. We’re looking at each other now and we don’t know what to say. We’ve been stunned into silence.”
Mr Redmond’s aunt, Alison Redmond, said the newlyweds, who had been together for eight years, had spent two years renovating a cottage they were due to move into after their honeymoon.
Neighbours of the Houghtons in Dalton paid tribute to them.
Ann Needham, of Higher Lane, attended the happy couple’s wedding at St Michael’s Church, Dalton, on August 6.
She said: “This is absolutely devastating news. I knew that they had been preparing for a few years to have this wonderful wedding and were renovating a cottage to move into and start a family, it’s absolutely horrendous.
“I went to church on the day of their wedding and she looked stunning, they both looked very happy together.
“This is a quiet village, it’s just awful to hear this sort of news about a couple who had been together for so long.
“I knew Gemma and her parents more than I did Ian, but I offer my sincere condolences to them.”
IT worker and keen cyclist Mr Redmond became engaged to Ms Houghton in 2009.
A close family friend of the Houghtons today said he felt numb after receiving the news.
Rowland Lang said he had last been talking to Mr Redmond and his bride-to-be following a church service less than a week before the big day.
He said: “After learning what happened, you try to rack your brains as to what you said that last time, but it won’t come. I do know that we exchanged pleasantries and that I wished them all the very best for their big day.
“They were so excited about the whole thing, and had spent a very long time meticulously preparing for the marriage.
“They were busy doing up a house in Roby Mill and must have been very much looking forward to settling down together.
“The whole thing is numbing. You wonder why it has happened and think silly things like ‘they didn’t deserve it.’
“It’s only a week or two since another tourist was killed by a shark.”
Police spokesman Jean Toussaint said the attack happened shortly before 5pm local time.
He said: “We discovered that the British citizen was badly injured on the hips and the arms.
“He was assisted medically but unfortunately he could not make it.
“We haven’t got the autopsy report yet but he definitely lost a lot of blood.”
“He had no chance of surviving because of the nature of the injuries.”