Australia: American Daniel “Gabe” Watson charged with wife’s, Christina Mae Watson, Scuba-dive Murder


Murder after 11 days of marriage? Bridegroom has been charged in his wife’s drowning in Australia.

Daniel Watson has been charged charged with the murder of his wife, Christina Mae Watson in Australia. The couple had been married for 11 days and was on their honeymoon on a scuba diving trip on the Great Barrier Reef. It was originally reported that Christina Mae Watson, (Tina), drowned on Oct. 22, 2003 while on diving at the wreck of the SS Yongala, a passenger and steam freighter and sank during a cyclone in 1911 on the Great Barrier Reef near the northeastern city of Townsville.


 Daniel Watson has been charged with her murder and intentionally cutting off his wife’s air supply. According to the family of the deceased Christina Mae Watson, she had told them that before the wedding that her fiancé had asked her to increase her life insurance and change the policy to make him the sole beneficiary.

An American tourist was charged with murder yesterday for allegedly drowning his bride of 11 days on a scuba diving trip on the Great Barrier Reef during their honeymoon. Christina Mae Watson, 26, died while diving on a shipwreck near the northeastern Australian city of Townsville while her husband looked on.

Daniel Watson, 31, of Birmingham, Alabama, had claimed during police interviews that his wife had panicked a few minutes into the dive. He said that as she thrashed around in the water, she grabbed hold of his mask and pushed it off his face. He later described seeing her, with her eyes wide and arms stretched out towards him, sink into the deep.

Yesterday police began preparing a warrant for Mr Watson’s arrest, the first step in what is expected to be a drawn-out extradition battle. It is not known where Mr Watson is living.

The inquest in Townsville heard that police, who believed initially that the death was an accident, started to become suspicious when Mr Watson changed some details of his story.

A postmortem examination found no medical condition that could have explained the death of Mrs Watson. Tests showed that there was nothing wrong with her diving gear. (Times on-Line)


This photo, taken during a scuba diving trip in Oct. 2003, shows the lifeless body of Christina Watson (right) lying on the seabed. Police believe her newlywed husband shut off the oxygen to her air tanks. (The Times Online)

Husband Charged With Killing Wife During Honeymoon Scuba Dive

Authorities believe that Daniel Watson shut off the air supply to his wife’s oxygen tanks, causing her to suffocate and sink to the bottom.  He then turned the tanks back on, police say, to make it look like a simple gear malfunction.

After years of investigation, authorities finally determined that there were enough suspicious circumstances surrounding the incident to charge Daniel Watson with murder.

Husband Charged With Honeymoon Murder
American Accused Of Drowning His New Bride During Dive On Great Barrier Reef In Australia

Newlywed charged with murdering wife while diving at Great Barrier Reef during honeymoon

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  • Comments

    20 Responses to “Australia: American Daniel “Gabe” Watson charged with wife’s, Christina Mae Watson, Scuba-dive Murder”

    1. Zimster on June 22nd, 2008 8:05 am

      A lot has been made about the insurance beneficiary change. Nothing odd about that — as one’s spouse is usually the beneficiary.

      I wonder if the Aussie’s checked the air quality of her tank. There are rare instances where a substance is inadvertently added to the air when a tank is refilled — usually the result of a faulty compressor used to fill the tank.

    2. richard on June 22nd, 2008 8:59 am

      Police became suspicious when he changed his story, the report goes.

      Joran van der Sloot has given … how many? … well, I’m told up to 22 versions of HIS story.

      Tourists, draw your own inferences as to the safety of travel to Aruba, or indeed the whole Caribbean. Prospective killers can do likewise.

    3. richard on June 22nd, 2008 9:01 am

      The Watson disappearance happened in 2003. I don’t recall ever hearing anyone in Australia say that they were tired of the case … it looks like they just continued to investigate. You know, upholding the law and doing their job.

      Nelson Oduber, are you reading this?

    4. MissKatie on June 22nd, 2008 11:39 am

      how sad.. I read where he stated that her eyes were wide as she pulled the mask off his face.. I imagine at that point she feared the worst… she was reaching out for help why couldnt he have saved her…. was there an under current or was it just he wasnt able to help her or he did it intentionaly….

      I feel sad for her parents… what a horrible way to die and to know you are going to die..

    5. Houston on June 22nd, 2008 2:29 pm

      A person does not leave when his bride of 11 days is in trouble. Why would the guy leave her when she was having trouble?

    6. david r on June 22nd, 2008 5:44 pm

      I believe that the “wide eyes” story is all b.s. I think the Aussies got it right. He turned off her air, let her panic and die, then let the air out of her bouyancy control device and watched her sink to the bottom. If he were trying to save her, he would (as Houston suggests) stay with her and try to get her to the surface. The normal scuba panic scenario involves the victim trying to rocket to the surface, and suffering the effects of nitrogen narcosis (“the bends”). I’ll bet he prevented her from coming up.

    7. Mr.G on June 23rd, 2008 12:34 am

      If Im not mistaken, the news said he asked her to up her insurance and she did. Im just basing this on the news folks. No facts, this is new to me. I would think tho, that if a man of only 11 days of marriage would of been right there, commiting his own life to save her. I feel he was either a coward or he had other motives. I believe the latter. I don’t care if he was an experienced diver or was not, instinc is the driven factor here, if he truly loved her he would of been there and risk his own life to save her, which tells me he didn’t love her enough to risk his own life to save her. Im saying this because,, if he was scared and did not know what to do, instinc would take over, get her to the top and air, nothing else. This is just so tragic and was so preventable, I may not have the facts at all but from what I read its just not a response I would expect from a husband or wife after 11 days of marriage. My heart goes out to the family of the girl, may she rest in peace……

    8. Mr.G on June 23rd, 2008 1:01 am

      Good gosh folks, if you need someone to knock of a kid or spouse go to Aruba, look up The Sloots and make a deal. They are killer friendly, lie to the hilt, sweat a lot, stink to Im assuming. If the son can’t do it the Daddy will.
      Just a reminder, “Natalee Holloway” still lives through us, Aruba will never rest till she is and the truth brought forth and she comes home. ” The Girl Will Never Be Forgotten” .
      ………….. United We Stand……..for those of you whom do not understand, this is why America is Great………….

    9. MissKatie on June 23rd, 2008 11:25 am

      we have a problem!!
      the husband is guilty as sin
      he intentionaly let her drown…

      dont forget there are alot of psychopaths out there with no feelings… could care less…

    10. david r on June 23rd, 2008 3:16 pm

      Check out msnbc’s coverage. There is an eye witness, one Stanley Stutz– an emergency room doctor no less– who saw the husband give her a “hug of death” for about 30 seconds right before she sank to the bottom. I don’t know why this took so long to prosecute. He is guilty as sin.

    11. MissKatie on June 23rd, 2008 5:09 pm

      david r
      that is totaly mean what he did… dont you think that she knew at some point that something wasnt right… he set her up to go scuba diving to do that…
      guilty I hope he gets it biggtime!!!!

    12. maryd on June 23rd, 2008 7:55 pm

      Here we go again, another psycho husband. Really makes you think twice about relationships. She was a pretty woman, he looks like a doofus. I don’t think there’s any warning when you encounter a “non-human.” It’s just pot luck.

    13. Julie McIntosh on June 24th, 2008 6:49 am

      He asked her to increase her life insurance to the max before the wedding. He asked her to make him the beneficiary of his insurance before the wedding.

      WHY would two people with no children even worry about insurance at that point. Why would he need her to have the max insurance, a working man like him? There were no dependents to support in the event of her death. Why would that even occur to him? Because he was planning all along to kill her.

      It broke my heart to watch the Dateline special on this murder and to hear about how this poor girl was terrified of the open water, scared to death to scuba (as evidenced by the terror and panic her instructors reported they saw during her training), but she wanted to please her soon-to-be husband. She went through all this out of love for this jerk, when all the time he was just plotting and planning her death for the insurance money.

      Hopefully he will be found guilty, but he will certainly rot in hell.

    14. MissKatie on June 24th, 2008 9:37 am

      the pitiful part was that he didnt even get the insurance money … it went to her family .. they used to to cover the expense of her funeral.. how sad is that..
      that psychopath killed her and got nothing!!
      he took her away from her family for what… money he never even recieved!!!!

      he oviously has no heart that is the trait of a psycopath……….. there are alot of men like him in the world.. the sad thing is that you never know that your dealing with a monster… because they are so conniving and smooth at laying on the charm …..
      they say and do all the right things…. they know what kind of women to target…the words of love that flow from their mouth does not flow from the heart… they speak with fork tongue as the indians say…

    15. Murph on June 24th, 2008 9:45 am

      I am a advanced diver with over 350 dives and lived in the Caribbean for 4 years. Gabe Watson account of what happened is so full of holes and lies that there not anything that add’s up to the truth. I also got certified at the same dive shop as he was ,and know he went against the training that was given to him. I believe he is a rotten egg and killed for the money he thought he was going to get if she died.What a nasty snake of a person we have here and I hope he gets what he deserves.

    16. CBreaz on June 25th, 2008 8:38 pm

      Indeed this is sad and there is no reason I can see as to why this would have happened.
      If, by some chance, Tina’s drowning was an accident, I would like to know why the instructor would even issue a divers certification card to someone who is uncomfortable in the water. Tina’s instructor stated that she often would panic when she was going through her training. I realize that some of these people overcome their fear, but most do not.
      I am a very experienced diver and am also a rescue diver.
      As for witnesses seeing Gabe holding Tina in a bear hug, why didn’t they swim over to see if they were in trouble? You can always tell if there is trouble by looking in their eyes.
      Just to set the record straight, Nitrogen Narcosis and the bends are two different things.

    17. Lindysu on July 9th, 2008 6:39 pm

      I’ve never heard of a faulty compressor giving poor air quality. Since all the divers on the fated trip would have had air from the same source, Tina’s air would not have been any different from anyone elses. The Yongala is a dive for advanced certification and above in Australia, and one of our most popular barrier reef dive sites due to the abundance of marine life. It is bold for him to murder her, risking any of the other divers seeing him doing it and not raising the alarm. Drowning would be a terrifying way for Tina to die!

    18. Cat on August 15th, 2008 9:02 am

      There has been a lot of media attention about this. However, no one seems to check the facts (brought out at the inquest) but continue to believe everything they read and see on TV.
      The media hype has been very biased. I wonder why.
      I wonder if anyone really seeks the truth or if they just want to “get on the bandwagon” with the lynch mob beacuse it’s easier to believe what you hear than to actually study all the facts and make a decision for yourself.
      1. There was no insurance.
      2. There was no motive.
      3.The dive company was found guilty according to the Health and Safety Board in Australia and even was represented at the inquest.
      4. No one has ever tried to find out why she died. Only someone read or heard that someone had killed their wife this way so it must be what happened and then set about to try to see what evidence they had that could be used in a different way.
      5.Evidence not introduced at the inquest was leaked to the media in Australia.
      6. There are deaths in Australia related to diving all the time. Most of them just happen. No one even knows why. Australia’s economy depends on the dive and tourist industry. In this particular case, they seemed to be satified with the cause of death when it occurred. No more interest in this case until someone reported a million dollar life insurance policy was issued on her by her husband and the media was leaked wrongful information to create a National interest in this case. At that point Australia had no choice but to protect their dive industry.
      7. In American you are assumed innocent until proven guilty, not assumed guilty until proven inocent.

    19. Neil on August 26th, 2008 12:08 am


      U r kidding right?
      In Australia you are innocent until proven guilty too, so don’t go getting on that ‘USA is the greatest’ high horse that so many americans like to ride (some of the loudest proclaimers have never been outside the US, in my experience)

      How do you support your claim that no-one has checked the facts?? The coroner and the police conducted an extremely thorough investigation into this. The facts speak clearly in my view and support the coroners findings. Against that you pitch your ridiculous conspiracy theory that the tourist industry and/or Australia in general want to use Watson as a scape-goat to protect themselves??? from what??? PERLEAAASE -that is the most ridiculous suggestion. You have been watching way too many of your sh%tty ‘CSI’ TV shows and/or conspircay movies for your own mental health. People die scuba diving accidentally on a fairly regular basis all over the world, but for some reason you conclude that the tragic death of Tina Watson necessitates a frameup of an innocent man on a grand scale.

      * There was insurance
      * There is/was motive
      * The finding against the dive company does NOT mean that Tina watson was not murdered
      * Did you read through watson’s police interview??? (F*ck!)
      * Did you read the coroners report?
      * There is a witness who saw him hold her in a bear hug immediately before she sank motionless to the bottom (An American doctor by the way, not some Aussie stool-pigeon brought in by the govt/tourist industry LOL)
      * Daniel watson took 2 and a half minutes to get 15 metres to the surface after the ‘incident’. he
      claims he rocketed to the surface to get help.
      * he claims there was a strong current, everyone else thought the diving conditions were perfect.
      Her body certainly did not drift too far in this supposed current.
      * he claims he wasn’t taught how to rescue someone on a rescue diver course. WTF!

      need i go on? (I could)

      Daniel watson will get a fair trial based on the evidence (at great cost to the community, BTW) … if he didnt do it, he deinitely will not go down. The law being the ass (and in this country ‘ass’ means a donkey, not your backside) it is, if he DID do it, he still has some chance of getting off. Remember OJ simpson?? There is you ‘great’ legal system at work. lol. yeah, the rest of the world aspires to that! You live in a ridiculous ‘democracy’ (where sons of presidents become presidents, where dynastys rule) Cat, and it it is gobsmackingly, frighteningly, stupefyingly outrageous that you believe there is something special and great about your country. I know i digress, but FFS!! You know something else Cat, and this IS something worth aspiring to. There is no death penalty in Australia. Good old US of A is pretty damn backward in many respects. But of course you have lots of guns, so thats ok.

    20. Justice? Alabama Husband David Gabriel Watson Gets One Year in Prison for Death of Christina “Tina” Mae Watson on Honeymoon | Scared Monkeys on June 6th, 2009 9:07 am

      [...] believed that David Gabriel Watson had shut off the air supply to his wife’s oxygen. The fact remains, there is no believable explanation that a certified and expert diver trained in [...]

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