Gardener killed in freak accident while trimming hedges at his home is revealed as a former Home and Away and Underbelly star – as his shattered wife reveals how the tragedy unfolded
- Assistant director John Clabburn killed after freak gardening accident
- Mr Clabburn, 52, was trimming hedges when he fell and cut hand on a power tool
- Paramedics rushed to a street on Sydney’s north shore just after 5pm on Tuesday
- Clabburn went into cardiac arrest and suffered blood loss from severe laceration
- Wife Melissa Clabburn said she kept getting towels but the blood wouldn’t stop
The man who was killed in a freak accident while trimming his garden hedges is a well-known Australian assistant director on TV mega series Home and Away and Underbelly.
John Clabburn, 52, was cutting his family’s garden on Smith Road in Artarmon on Sydney’s north shore when he fell three metres from a tree before cutting his hand on a cordless gardening saw at around 5pm on Tuesday.
Paramedics later found Mr Clabburn – known as JC by his peers – suffering a cardiac arrest after losing a large amount of blood from the severe laceration.
First assistant director John Clabburn, 52, (pictured) was killed when he fell three metres from a tree before cutting his hand on a cordless gardening saw while trimming hedges on Tuesday
The director had built a successful career spanning over 30 years, overseeing film projects Home and Away, Underbelly, Survivor, LoveChild, The Wiggles and TV series Wonderland.
The tragic accident has devastated his wife of 27 years, Melissa, who met him on the set of TV series Heartland, and sons Josh, 23, and Lewis, 21.
Melissa Clabburn, 56, said she can’t believe he’s gone and ‘expected him to pull through’ as the accident happened ‘so quickly, it’s so surreal’.
The photographer and mother-of-two heard a branch break while in the kitchen and knew immediately something was wrong.
Emergency services were called to Smith Road (pictured) in Artarmon on Tuesday after Mr Clabburn suffered from cardiac arrest and severe injuries from the horror fall
‘All he said was “call an ambulance now”. John was unflappable and knew how much I hated blood, I can’t handle the sight of it, he kept it together for me but I know he would have been in incredible pain,’ she told The Daily Telegraph.
Four ambulance crews and the Careflight Rapid Response Rescue Helicopter team were confronted with ‘traumatic and chaotic scenes’.
‘When I went out to the back garden he was crawling on the ground on his stomach, there was so much blood, he was clutching his torso, I kept getting towels to stem the flow but the blood wouldn’t stop.’
Mr Clabburn was rushed to the Royal North Shore Hospital (pictured) where he later died
Paramedics told Mrs Clabburn that despite her husband looking ‘pink’, he was able to breathe on his own inside the ambulance.
‘One minute we were admiring how straight the hedge was looking and what a great job he had done, he was so meticulous, he had a great eye for detail, the next John was in an ambulance,’ Mrs Clabburn said.
Mr Clabburn was rushed to the Royal North Shore Hospital, where he later died.
NSW Ambulance Inspector Carolyn Parish praised the paramedics who worked hard to stabilise him after he had lost a ‘large amount’ of blood.
‘The patient had been using a power tool whilst hedging prior to the medical emergency,’ Inspector Parish said.
‘Paramedic crews did an amazing job in an understandably traumatic and chaotic scene.’