The boyfriend of tragic skydiver Clare Barnes has spoken for the first time of their final moments together.

Chris McDougall described the 24-year-old daughter of newsreader Carol Barnes as "happy beyond belief" as she prepared for her 200th parachute jump in the skies above Melbourne, Australia.

Recalling the moment they jumped together from an aircraft at 14,000ft, Mr McDougall said: "There was a glint in her eye. She was happy beyond belief, she was exhilarated."

Tragedy struck seconds after the couple shared a mid-air kiss.

Clare, whose mother lives in Brighton and whose father is Europe minister Denis MacShane, plummeted 14,000ft to her death after becoming entangled in her parachute.

Mr McDougall said: "She was fighting all the way down and she did everything right.

"I saw the whole thing but at least she didn't know what was going to happen. She knew she was in trouble but her mind would have been focused on trying to fix the problem."

He said: "Everything was going right for Clare. We had bought a house together, she was becoming a really good skydiver and she was just about to get Australian residency.

"She was my best friend, she was cheeky, loved life and there was just something about her - she was Clare."

Clare's parents and her brother James, who runs a record shop in North Laine, Brighton, returned to Britain earlier this week after flying to Australia for her funeral.