Scuba diver accused of murdering wife by allowing her to drown during Great Barrier Reef honeymoon

An American scuba diver has been charged with murdering his wife by drowning her during their honeymoon at the Great Barrier Reef.

The move allows authorities to begin the process of extraditing David Gabriel Watson, of Birmingham, Alabama, to face the charges in Australia.

Watson's wife, Christina Watson, drowned on October 22, 2003, while the couple was diving at a shipwreck off Queensland's coast, eleven days after their wedding.


The body of Tina Watson (circled) lies on the sea bed after her husband had swum to the surface

The alleged murder only came to light after a photograph showing Mrs Watson drowning emerged.

The picture was taken by another diver who was photographing a friend in an underwater pose, unaware that a third man was desperately swimming towards the prone figure to try to save her.

By then it was too late to help 26-year-old Tina Watson, whose husband had returned to the surface.

The husband was an experienced diver and had been acting as a so-called dive buddy for his less-experienced spouse on the day she died.

He told police she panicked underwater and then sank away from him.

The Australian authorities will now try and extradite Gabe Watson (l) from the U.S. now he's been charged with the death of his wife Tina (r)

The Australian authorities will now try and extradite David Gabriel Watson (l) from the U.S. now he's been charged with the death of his wife Tina (r)

Watson said he decided to go for help rather than following her to the sea floor to attempt a rescue.

Last June, the Queensland state coroner found there was sufficient evidence to charge Watson with his wife's murder.

Justice Keiran Cullinane said that Watson was required to appear in court on February 3, 2009, to answer the indictment but noted that he had no power to force the American to return to Australia.

Australia and the United States have an extradition treaty, though the process can take months and Watson's lawyers have said they would likely oppose his extradition.

During the coroner's inquest, police testified they initially thought the death was an accident. However, they became suspicious when Watson changed details of his account.

The coroner said the circumstances of the drowning remained unclear but that a possible motive was Tina Watson's modest life insurance policy.

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