News

Not guilty of murdering husband

Michele Irsigler
Michele Irsigler

A WOMAN who shot her husband twice, drove his body to a friend's place to be burnt and lied about his disappearance has been found not guilty of murder.

Michele Irsigler walked free yesterday, acquitted of the murder charge against her because of her evidence that she had been the victim of two decades of abuse.

During a fortnight-long trial in Brisbane Supreme Court, Ms Irsigler told of the events before she killed her husband, Jonathan Watkins, in their Montville home on July 25, 2001.

She said she had been kept hostage in the family home for three days before she shot him as he attacked her.

A jury returned a not guilty verdict for charges of murder and manslaughter against Ms Irsigler.

She was found guilty of interfering with a corpse and sentenced to a wholly suspended one-year jail term.

Two men accused of being accessories to the murder, Russell Graham Pilkington and her current partner Jason Scott Bundesen, also were found guilty of interfering with a corpse.

The pair received the same sentence and were found not guilty of all other charges.

Mr Pilkington was helping Ms Irsigler collect her belongings from the house when Mr Watkins arrived home and started attacking his wife.

She managed to escape, found a gun she had borrowed from a friend and shot Mr Watkins twice.

They drove his body to Mr Bundesen's property, where he took it to a back paddock, doused it in diesel and burnt it for several days.

Days later, Ms Irsigler told police her husband had stormed off, saying he would never be seen again.

He was listed as a missing person for many years until Mr Pilkington made a drunk confession to the incident years later.

No trace of Mr Watkins was ever found.

Ms Irsigler told police she never wanted to kill her husband but said she had the gun to scare him.

"Why (did I shoot him)? Eighteen years of being bumped around, being threatened," she said.

"I wanted my life back.

"I wanted to get up in the morning and not be beaten up during the day ... to have a normal life.

"I wanted a normal life for my children."

Topics:  court, murder




Where the sinkhole water came from

The Basin Pocket sinkhole was drained into  gully.

The lab results are in

Is this the start of our Rural Renaissance?

Exports to the US have dropped 40%, China 30% and Japan 10%. China and Saudi Arabia have once more open their doors to Brazilian beef while Indonesia is now looking to Indian buffalo meat to boost its supplies

Rising prices the talk of the town as rain raises farmers’ spirits

Miller speech leaves ALP faithful stunned

STILL STRONG: Member for Bundamba Jo-Ann Miller MP at her Goodna office.

MP sticks to her guns at closed Labor conference

Latest deals and offers

Tom Hiddleston's Instagram account hacked

Actor Tom Hiddleston

Thor star the latest celebrity targetted by hackers

Charlize Theron's son dresses up as Frozen character

Actor Charlize Theron

Star's son spotted dressed a beloved Frozen character

BOOKS: Food for thought in Caroline Beecham's latest novel

Maggie's Kitchen by Caroline Beecham is published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99.

New novel reminds readers that bravery exists in many forms

TELEVISION: New show is a Survivor, for now

Jonathan LaPaglia hosts the TV series Australian Survivor.

WHAT happens when a new show with a big budget flops?

Rachel Weisz understands celebrity gossip fascination

Actor Rachel Weisz

Weisz says mystery is good for an actor

Gina Rodriguez relished dramatic change for new film

Jane the Virgin lead Gina Rodriguez

TV star shaved her hair for movie role

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Noosa mayor on "red alert" over planning court decision

Mayor Tony Wellington hands down his first budget.

Mayor upset at lack of say about look and feel of Noosa