An Alabama man whose wife died during a honeymoon scubadiving trip off the coast of Australiaalmost five years ago has been finally charged with her death. An Australian coroner ruled Friday that therewas enough evidence to put Gabe Watson on trial for the death of Tina Watson,who was 26 when she drowned in October 2003 while diving around a historicshipwreck in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The husband was an experienced diver, and his new wife was considered anovice, the coroner said.
They werediving on the Yongala shipwreck about 42 miles off the coast of Townsville inthe state of Queensland, Australia. The couple married just 11 days earlier in Birmingham, Alabama.They left their home in Hoover, Alabama, for their Australian honeymoon two dayslater. Watson, 31, told police that hisnew bride appeared to panic 45 feet underwater and that he “looked intoher eyes and saw her eyes were wide open, but there was no response,”Townsville Coroner David Glascow said in his inquest findings. Glascow,however, cited what he said were inconsistencies in Watson’s statements toinvestigators.
The coroner said he was “unable to conclude that Tina’sdeath was an accidental drowning.” Aspossible evidence for the husband’s motive, Glascow pointed to a statement bythe woman’s father that Watson asked her to maximize her life insurance andmake him the beneficiary shortly before the wedding. The insurance company confirmed that Gabe Watsoninquired about her life insurance policy after her death, the coroner said. The coroner noted that Watson, through hislawyers, contended that police had made a judgment that he killed his wifebefore they began their investigation and that they tailored theirinvestigation to fit their theory. Glascowsaid he saw no evidence of police rushing to judgment.