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Husband Jailed For Honeymoon Scuba Death

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Sky News

An American man whose new wife was found dead on the ocean floor during their honeymoon scuba-dive trip has been jailed for manslaughter.

Tina Watson's lifeless body is seen in the background of this holiday snap

David Gabriel Watson, of Birmingham, Alabama, admitted he failed to give his wife of 11 days, Christina, emergency oxygen while diving on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

The 32-year-old then allowed her to sink to her death.

He has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison at a court in Brisbane.

However, the sentence will be suspended after 12 months, meaning Watson will serve just a year in jail.

David 'Gabe' Watson and Christina

Outside court, Christina's father, Tommy Thomas, said his family was in disbelief.

"I'm sure that the entire Australian nation as well as our country back home shares in the shock at what we've just seen, because it's a total injustice ... it's ludicrous," he said.

"It's an embarrassment to everyone involved. We believe that Gabe Watson murdered our daughter."

Watson had been due to stand trial for murder - which carried a potential sentence of life in prison - until the prosecution accepted the guilty plea to the lesser charge.

The prosecution said the manslaughter plea was accepted on the basis that Watson failed in his duty as his wife's dive buddy by not giving her emergency oxygen.

"He virtually extinguished any chance of her survival," prosecutor Brendan Campbell said.

A dive instructor found Christina, a novice diver, lying on the bottom of the ocean in 2003.

Watson, an experienced diver trained in rescue procedures, had apparently left her and returned to the dive boat.

He had failed to inflate her buoyancy vest or remove weights from her belt to allow her to surface.

The incident was unwittingly captured by another diver, whose holiday photograph revealed Christina's body lying horizontally in the distance.

Australia's Great Barrier Reef

An inquest into her death last year heard that a fellow diver in the party saw Watson bear-hugging his 26-year-old wife before re-surfacing without her.

The coroner found it was likely Watson killed his wife by holding her underwater and turning off her air supply.

Watson told police his new wife had knocked his mask off and then sank too quickly for him to save her.

The argument was rejected by prosecutors, who said she could not have sunk so quickly.

Watson, who has since remarried, voluntarily returned to Australia last month to face his murder charge.

Rik Gould
Rik Gould 2009-06-05 10:18:06
126 postningar


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