Man charged with murdering wife on honeymoon dive weeps in court

Husband breaks down as jury watch pictures of bride's last moments

For Gabe Watson and his young bride, a honeymoon spent diving off the Australian coast was meant to be the happiest week of their lives. Yesterday, nine years later, Mr Watson wept in a US courtroom as graphic images of his wife drowning on the the trip were produced as evidence that he was her killer.

The court heard that the 34-year-old, who has since remarried, is accused of turning off 26-year-old Tina Watson's air supply and holding her under the surface. Watson admitted that divers who saw it were likely to think his underwater struggle with Tina was suspicious. But he insisted he was trying to inflate her buoyancy control vest and drag his panicking wife to the surface.

"In the back of my mind I was thinking these people could see us, or at least think something [odd] was going on," the court heard Watson tell detectives in a taped interview played yesterday.

The couple married in 2003 in Alabama, where Watson now stands trial. Eleven days later, Tina Watson would be dead. Watson's lawyers claim "there was no financial motive" for him to murder his wife, adding that her father was the beneficiary of her life insurance policy and their travel insurance only covered the cost of the trip.

"This is a tragic case," Mr Bloomston said in court yesterday. "What's even more tragic is the blame Gabe has had to live with this last number of years."

In the taped interview, Watson told Australian investigators: "I remember shouting through my regulator 'Tina, Tina, Tina.'" He said his wife got into difficulty when the couple were hit by a strong current "five to seven minutes" into their dive. "She was out of arm's reach," he added. He said he swam towards her to help but returned to the surface when his own air supply was knocked off in the struggle.

Dr Stanley Stutz, a doctor who witnessed the incident, told the court Watson went to his wife briefly, "then he let go and she sank".

The case revolves around Watson's dive computer, used to track dives. He claims he signalled to his wife to return to the surface shortly after getting into the water because the dive computer was beeping, indicating the battery was not properly installed.

But prosecutors dismiss this as a ruse to lure his wife away from other divers, saying that the dive computer would not beep if the battery was not providing power. Detective senior constable Kevin Gehringer of Queensland, who conducted two taped interviews with Watson, testified that he became "a little agitated" when police told him on the night his wife died that he would not get the dive computer back. Mr Bloomstom will claim that Australian police never contacted the computer's manufacturer to see if it beeps when the battery is in upside down and said the prosecution was based on "bumbling" detectives believing that a problem with a dive computer on his wrist proved he killed the woman he loved.

Mr Watson was charged with murder in Australia and pleaded guilty to manslaughter, serving 18 months in prison. He was handed over to US authorities only after Alabama agreed to waive the death penalty. He faces life in prison if convicted.

Suggested Topics
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
Life and Style

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 5 Teacher

£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...

Software Developer

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...

Systems Analyst / Business Analyst - Central London

£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...

Senior Change Engineer (Network, Cisco, Juniper) £30k

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album