The innocent Christchurch driver who died when he was struck by a car fleeing from police yesterday morning has been described as an “angel”.
Kenneth McCaul, 64, is being remembered as a loving husband to his partner of 40 years, Owen Fraser, and a kind man to the patients he worked with at Christchurch Hospital.
His husband gave a tribute at the couple’s historic home in North Canterbury today. The couple had lovingly renovated the property in Kaiapoi over several years, returning it to its former glory.
“He was a thoughtful person, he liked to help people, got on with people quite easily,” Mr Fraser told 1 NEWS.
“He really got along with people really good, like the team that he worked with in the phlebotomy department in the hospital.”
The tragedy began early yesterday morning when Mr McCaul was t-boned by a car full of teenagers who were allegedly fleeing police. All five in that car, including the 17-year-old driver, survived - but Mr McCaul later died in hospital.
Mr Fraser was choosing to focus on the happy memories today, describing their wedding back in 2014, which was arranged after the law changed to allow for same-sex marriages.
“We got married on Kenneth's 60th birthday, the invitations went out as birthday invitations, nobody knew we were getting married,” he says.
“It had on it, ‘dress code, black, white and gold’, but everybody thought, ‘oh, that’s Kenneth’.”
Mr McCaul worked in the blood service at Christchurch Hospital and was known for taking extra care with his patients, helping to cheer them up despite their problems.
“He took bloods, that's what a phlebotomist does, and he always put the needle in very gently, and very shallow, where as some sort of used them like a dart,” Mr Fraser says.
One of his former patients, Nicky Sampson, says she was heartbroken to hear the news and described Kenneth as “one of life’s good guys”.
“He used to walk in, in the mornings – [saying] ‘morning, morning, morning’ - and he'd open up the curtains, and just left that lasting impression of such a wonderful man,” she says.
“He's an angel, I'm not religious, but I certainly believe heaven got an angel when he died, he really was lovely.”
Another patient, Anthony Kinney, said he knew Mr McCaul for several years while recovering from spinal surgery.
“He was there when [I] was going through hard times,” he says.
“He would hold your hand when staples were being removed from my back. […] He was such an amazing man, I will miss him, he did so much in Christchurch Hospital.”
Mr Fraser says he wants his late husband to be remembered as a “caring person” who tried to help people.
That one terrible moment at the hands of a teenage driver, outweighed by four decades of good memories.