THE heartbroken mother of a man killed by a crocodile at a Territory beach is now terrified of water and refuses to leave her home.
Jackie Harris, whose son Russell was taken by a 4m saltwater crocodile on Groote Eylandt in the NT's northeast, said she was coming to terms with his death. Mrs Harris, speaking to the media for the first time since the attack and being released from hospital, told the Sunday Territorian last Thursday: "I have only just found out how he died and I would prefer not to talk about it at this stage.
"All I can say is he was the best son that anyone could ever have."
Her husband Donald said from Nottingham, in England, how his wife could not stop thinking about water and was too frightened to even go into her back yard.
"She's OK but just keeps thinking of water," he said. It terrifies her."
Mrs Harris's family kept the details of her son's death from her, fearing she would not cope with the news of the croc attack.
They initially told her Russell had drowned.
Mrs Harris was shopping when her daughter-in-law, Russell's wife Jennifer, telephoned with the news.
"When she got back home and I told her she fell down in the hallway and just lay there screaming for two hours," Mr Harris said.
Mrs Harris was taken to hospital suffering shock and had to be sedated.
She was released four days later and has not left her house since, he said.
Russell Harris was a mining superintendent with Gemco, which mines manganese on the island, 800km northeast of Darwin.
He was killed by a croc while snorkelling at Picnic Beach, on the northeast of Groote Eylandt, last Saturday afternoon.
His wife was on the beach with a friend when he disappeared.
Russell had left Britain several years ago and had worked in the US and Mexico, before moving to Australia five months ago.
His sister Georgina has flown to Darwin to take her brother's body home for burial.