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

Dreamworld ride worker: "It couldn't have been foreseen"

A former Dreamworld senior ride operator has broken his silence

Another store leaves Ipswich mall

SHUT DOWN: R.M. Williams in the Ipswich Mall has closed with Wednesday as their last day of trading.

R.M. Williams no longer has a store in Ipswich

Woman arrested after allegedly aiming car at emergency room

Ipswich Hospital emergency department drop-off and ambulance bay.

Patient allegedly loses cool after long wait in emergency

Local Partners

Workmates honour crash victim with tribute

UPDATE: Tanya Lyell is being remembered as a young mother dedicated to her family and work as the town she called home mourns its loss.

WATCH: NASA space station is live, see the view from above

In this picture taken from NASA's International Space Station from April 2015, the SpaceX Dragon is captured with the 57.7-foot-long Canadarm2 robotic arm before its installation to the Harmony module.

See the world from a new perspective as space station passes Rocky

Artist feeds us pop straight from heart

FEED THE BEAST: Singer-songwriter Emma Dean is this week's featured artist.

Emerge's Calen Le Couteur recently caught up with Emma Dean

Your guide to a great night out in Ipswich

Dennis Knight and the Black Cats play Club Services Ipswich Saturday night

Check out some live entertainment this weekend

Tom Cruise credits success to Scientology

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise credits his success to Scientology

Hacksaw Ridge leads AACTA Awards nominations

Andrew Garfield and Teresa Palmer in a scene from the movie Hacksaw Ridge.

MEL Gibson's wartime drama opens in cinemas next week.

ABBA to reunite for virtual live experience


ABBA have confirmed they are to reunite - in virtual reality form

Hugh Laurie receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hugh Laurie on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hugh Laurie and his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Blake Lively hosts 40th party for Ryan Reynolds

Blake Lively throws husband Ryan Reynold's 40th birthday bash

What's on the big screen this week

Benedict Cumberbatch in a scene from the movie Doctor Strange.

MARVEL'S latest superhero Doctor Strange makes his debut.

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Is Woolworths departure good news for Ipswich CBD?

Artist impression of the Ipswich Mall for the rejuvenation project to be undertaken by Ipswich City Properties

Council is on track to release a detailed plan before December

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?