Will there soon be justice for Christina?
TINA'S STORY See more about the case at link.
Christina Mae "Tina" (Thomas) Watson
On Friday, November 28, 2008, the Townsville Supreme Court has
accepted the indictment against David Gabriel "Gabe" Watson
of Alabama, clearing the way for the extradition process to begin.
David Gabriel "Gabe" Watson has been accused & charged in the
murder of Christina Thomas Watson, he has not yet been
convicted in any court.
Christina Mae "Tina" Thomas made an awful misstep - allowing
David Gabriel "Gabe" Watson into her life.
David Gabriel "Gabe" Watson
Christina Thomas had felt "Gabe" Watson was a bit "weird" but when
a relationship ended, Tina was on the rebound and vulnerable. All of
her friends were being married and Tina felt a bit "odd man out"
among them. And Gabe Watson was watching, and waiting.
Over the course of their dating Tina soon found herself in a controlling
and abusive relationship with a man who definitely had a temper.
Tina wasn't sure she wanted to be with Gabe and had a brief, short
lived relationship with someone else. After all, she was single, she
didn't belong to Gabe Watson.
At some point Gabe found out and was furious.
One night Tina and her sister Alanda went together for pizza and Gabe
joined them. Enraged for some reason Gabe sat and glared at Tina the
entire time. He even went so far as to take a slice of pizza and throw
it at Tina.
Although her family and others around her were uneasy about the
abuse, Tina wasn't the type to complain, she would make excuses
for Gabe, to make peace between everyone.
Gabe bought Tina an engagement ring...in November of 2002. But
he didn't present it to her. Instead, he placed the ring into a bag, and
the bag onto the top of the television, warning Tina that she wasn't to
touch it for six months.
April of 2003 Gabe proposed and Tina accepted.
Gabe kept insisting on a diving trip on their honeymoon and although
Tina wasn't enthused about it she arranged for diving lessons.
She was tense, nervous and panicky on the dives, so much so her
instructor asked her if she really wanted to be there. He didn't take
her reply literally, but her words now seem as if they were a fore-
warning of her fate.
"You don't understand. I have to do this. I don't have any choice.
If I don't do this my boyfriend will kill me."
Tina made a dozen dives and passed the course. She was awarded her
beginner's open water diving qualification Although she had panicked
during training dives, the instructor felt she had good self preservation
skills, making immediately and swiftly for the surface as she was taught.
Gabe had lessons with the same instructor. Gabe earned three diving
qualifications- open water, advanced open water and rescue diver. The
rescue instruction included how to rescue a panicked diver, a diver with
no air, one without a regulator and what to do for an unconscious diver.
As part of the Open water certification Gabe had to undergo the portion
of training where the instructor turns off the valve on the scuba tank and
the air becomes cut off. Once the diver indicates a loss of air the air is
turned back on and one is taught what to expect and how to respond to
the situation. Gabe qualified in all areas, an experienced diver.
In the days before her wedding Tina had a problem.
September 26, 2003 Gabe began pushing Tina to change her insurance.
Since her father had been in insurance for over 25 years she sought him
out for his advice. Gabe wanted Tina to increase her life insurance to the
maximum, and designate him as beneficiary.
Tom listened to his daughter's concerns and then advised her to delay,
to wait until they'd returned from Australia before making any changes
to her policy. Tina decided to lie to Gabe and pretend she had made the
When Gabe pressed Tina, she told him she'd already done what he'd
October 1, 2003 Tina's dream fairytale wedding was everything she'd
dreamed of. Their families wished them well and they flew off to their
honeymoon in Australia.
Reportedly already a controlling and jealous boyfriend, Gabe's behaviour,
according to witnesses on their honeymoon, took a deadly turn.
Eleven (11) days after they'd said "I do" Tina was dead.
October 23, 2003 Gabe and Tina joined the others at the dive rope after
entering the water on a first dive that day. The dive group was swimming
towards the Yongala shipwreck off the Queensland coast.
Gabe pulled Tina back towards the rope as the other divers made their
descent. He fiddled with his dive computer's battery pack, supposedly
because it was beeping. He made a show of inspecting the battery,
pretending it had been put in incorrectly. If it had been inserted wrong,
it wouldn't have been beeping.
Tina waited patiently until he was finished inserting the battery and when
Gabe was ready, she willingly followed him deeper into the clear blue waters.
* This part is supposition, however it is what Investigators, FBI
and experienced divers believe happened; from witness reports
and from what Gabe Watson has told investigators.
*When they were deeper at a 45 foot depth, Gabe turned to Tina and
encircled her waist with his arms. At first Tina thought he was giving
her a quick hug, but then she couldn't move and suddenly her eyes
grew wide in horror as she realized his intent. Gabe was turning off
her air valve on her scuba tank.It was difficult to breathe. She briefly
tried to struggle but he was holding her so tight she couldn't break
free. She begged him with her eyes to turn it on, to no avail. Her
body began to spasm and gasp. Soon her arms hung limp as she lost
consciousness. His brutal face the last she would see. *
One of the American doctors on board one of the dive boats glanced
down into the ocean below and what he saw made him pay closer
attention. He saw a male diver on top of a female diver who was in
distress. The female diver was on her back facing upwards, her arms
stretched out to the sides.
The other diver's arms were encircling the waist of the female diver,
behind her back. The male diver held her for about 30 seconds in a
bear hug and then turned and began swimming to the surface as the
female diver began sinking 110 feet towards the bottom. There were
no bubble trails coming from the female diver as she sank.
*As soon as he felt sure she was dead or nearly there, Gabe turned the
air back on and then let go of Tina and watched as she sank towards
the bottom like a stone. * He turned and performed a controlled, almost
leisurely swam towards the surface, swimming slower than his bubbles
were rising. It took him two (2) minutes and 30 seconds to surface. A
safe ascent in an emergency for an experienced divers should have
taken him approximately one (1) minute and 18 seconds.
Two of the divers were having fun. One of them struck a pose as the
other took a photograph. Neither realized that this particular photo
would become key evidence in a crime.
Christina Watson is circled in red, lying on the ocean floor.
Gabe broke through to the surface yelling "Tina's gone down! I need
help! Tina's gone down! She's gone straight to the bottom!"
Then he climbed into the boat. Watson made no attempt to return to
the water to save his bride.
As the diver was taking the photograph the dive leader was nearby and spotted
Tina on the bottom of the seabed. Immediately he swam towards her, scooped
her up and made for the surface, ignoring the risk of the bends to himself. It
took him a minute and a half to reach the surface, traveling twice the distance
Gabe Watson had. Tina's regulator was in her mouth, working properly, but
there was no air in her buoyancy control device.
Gabe was telling fellow divers that Tina had panicked because of an equipment
malfunction and knocked off his face mask and regulator. He'd had to let go
of Tina while he fixed his equipment, and by then the swift current had carried
Tina away. Tina had sunk to the bottom with her arms stretched out towards
him as if begging him to save her. He'd tried to swim after her but couldn't
catch up so he'd made the decision to abandon her and get help on the
surface. He swore he'd never swam so fast in his life and had risked the bends.
His rapid descent alarm on his hadn't triggered, showing his statement to be
The dive leader surfaced with Tina in his arms and she was quickly brought
aboard a neighboring boat where the doctors worked feverishly for 30
minutes trying to revive her.
Gabe made no attempt to join them. He sat unconcerned as others
tried to save Tina's life.
As he told his version of the story to other divers they looked askance at
him. One told him "Gabe, that didn't happen. You better come up
with something else. Cause that story didn't happen." When
Watson claimed that Tina was too heavy for him to life, another retorted
"That's bullshit because underwater if your feet are not braced
on the bottom, there's no sensation of weight."
The dive trip was cut short because of the tragedy. As the group made their
way back to shore several of the divers exchanged their concerns to each
other. Several of them later contacted Tina's father and expressed their
concerns to him.
Tina's body was brought to the Townsville morgue for an autopsy.
The senior operations manager kept Gabe Watson company that night
and later testified that Watson's demeanor was "calm and not over
emotional" but he had said that he "felt guilty about his wife's death."
It was twelve (12) hours before Gabe bothered to telephone Tom Thomas
to inform the family that Tina had died. He also described it as an
accidental death. Although bereaved, the Thomas family accepted his
Two days later Gabe Watson was allowed into the morgue to see Tina,
presumably to say his goodbyes. A police officer was stationed out of
sight, but within hearing and he heard Gabe say in a cold voice "I'm so
sorry, I never meant to hurt you. I shouldn't have kept taking
you down. I'm sorry, I couldn't stop.''
In subsequent interviews with police detectives Gabe Watson gave conflicting
versions of his story. Sixteen (16) of them in fact.
Gabe argued that there had to have been faulty equipment involved when the
Australian medical examiner stated that he couldn't, and wouldn't rule Tina's
death as an accidental one.
Tina's family was devasted to hear from fellow divers that Watson could be
responsible for Tina's death, that it was in their opinion, not anything near
Tina was brought home to Alabama and although Gabe buried her in a plot
surrounded by empty plots saved for her family's eventual resting places, he
refused to allow them any say in the funeral services. He also refused to allow
them any personal mementos, nothing belonging to Tina. Gabe also set
restrictions upon them before allowing them to attend the funeral of their
beloved daughter. They were "not to say or do anything against him."
Cindy and Tom Thomas
Just after Tina's funeral, Gabe showed his friends a video with him saying
to Tina "Smile at the camera, in case you get eaten by a shark or
something." Then he joked "for an extra $10 Tina could have had
a million dollar life insurance policy."
Gabe Watson lost no time in filing for his wife's insurance. He also filed suit
against Old Republic Insurance and Travelex for hundreds of thousands of
dollars claiming punitive damages for the mental anguish he'd suffered for
the loss of his wife. Police informed the companies that Gabe Watson was
suspected of causing Christina Watson's death.
Gabe learned that Tina had left her father as beneficiary on her life insurance
policy. He wouldn't get a penny.
At Christmas the "grieving widower" sent a card to one of Tina's close friends.
The card had a photo of their wedding on the front and inside it said "Who's
that sexy guy standing next to Tina? Oh yeah, that's me!"
accompanied by a smiley face.
Over the next year, as Tina's family placed flowers with cards or mementos of
their own on Tina's grave site their offerings were mysteriously disappearing.
Perplexed and upset they turned to a local police detective.
A decision was made to set up surveillance and Gabe Watson was
caught on film (click to view) kneeling at the grave, reading the card, going
to his vehicle and returning with large bolt cutters. After removing the flower
arrangements he threw them into the street and left in his vehicle.
March 2005 - Since he couldn't get the travel insurance company to pay out,
Watson decided to file suit to recoup the cost of the diving trip, despite sound
legal advice not to pursue this route.
October 7, 2005 - Out of spite Watson had Tina's body exhumed and her casket
moved to the other side of the cemetery into a single grave site where there were
no empty plots surrounding it. The Australian police were concerned that nothing
should be contaminated and so American police were present at the exhumation
April, 2008 - FBI & Queensland detectives seized Watson's computer, documents
and other material as evidence.
June 2008 - Over five years have passed and finally the investigation was completed.
An inquest was held by the Townsville, Australia Coroner. Gabe Watson testified
via video link. Testimony included Watson "stared into her eyes as he held her in
a bear hug before letting her slip away and that "Tina knew she was in danger -
the look on her face was awful." A re-enactment in court as well as a video
of the re-enactment underwater by divers were also presented.
After extensive testimony the Coroner rendered a verdict. Enough evidence
exists that shows Gabe Watson is possibly responsible for the diving
death of Christina Watson and should face trial. Extradition would be pursued
so that Watson would face trial in Australian court. A warrant was issued for
August 15, 2008 - Gabe Watson re-married. His new bride is Kim Lewis who
is said to bear a striking resemblance to Christina.