Honeymooner killed his wife, then married a lookalike
THE father of a woman whose husband was charged with murdering her during an idyllic North Queensland honeymoon has slammed Australian authorities for letting him plead guilty to a charge that will see him serve just one year behind bars.
American David Gabe Watson, 32, appeared in the Brisbane Supreme Court yesterday to answer a charge of murdering his bride of 10 days, Christina May Watson, 26, while diving on the Great Barrier Reef near Townsville in October 23, 2003.
When called on to enter a plea while being arraigned on the charge, Watson pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
"(I plead) not guilty to murder, (but) guilty to manslaughter," Watson told a stunned courtroom.
Prosecutor Brendan Campbell said the Crown accepted the plea to the lesser charge in full discharge of the indictment.
Watson was sentenced to four years jail, to be suspended after having served one year in custody.
A visibly angry and shaken William Thomas, Tina's father, said it was an "embarrassment" and "ludicrous" that Watson had been allowed to get away with "murder".
"We believe Gabe Watson murdered our daughter. We'll continue to believe that," Mr Thomas said outside the court.
"This is in no way, shape or form a beginning to get justice for my daughter. As you can see we are in total shock at what has transpired. What has happened is ludicrous and an embarrassment."
Mr Thomas said it was a disgrace Watson had been allowed to make himself out to also have been a victim.
"He is allowed to take the easy way out," he said. "After five years he gets up and says he panicked while we know he murdered Tina."
Watson's new wife, who bears a striking resemblance to Tina and sat quietly during the four-hour sentence, declined to comment.
Watson, who sat stoically throughout the hearing and avoided making eye contact with Tina's family, winked at his wife as the hearing ended and had a smirk on his face as he strolled toward the court cells.
I don't understand how the Australian Justice system could have allowed this travesty.