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



How to survive a bushfire in your car

IT SOUNDS like a nightmare, but it can happen.

Eight reasons to join the RFS

SPREAD across 93% of Queensland, the Rural Fire Service has about 36,000 volunteers. And you could be one of them.

What if my insurer gives me grief?

CLAIMING your insurance cover after a natural disaster can go one of two ways. It can be a breeze, or like pulling teeth.

Life devoted to Ipswich veterans

Phil Gilbert's coffin passes through a guard of honour after his funeral Tuesday.

Stalwart of Ipswich RSL farewelled

Brendon McCullum to play T20 cricket for Ipswich

COUP: New Zealand legend Brendon McCullum to play T20 cricket for Ipswich-Logan Hornets.

New Zealand legend to inspire young Hornets on Sunday

'Fuming': Graduation two ticket limit has parents upset

A post on Goodna State School's Facebook Page reminding parents only guests with tickets would be allowed into the graduation ceremony.

Parents at Goodna State School are fuming and confused.

Local Partners

FLOOD RISK: Mayors launch plan to protect $260M industry

A COMPREHENSIVE plan to deal with the flood risk to rivers and lakes in the Lockyer Valley has been launched.


Top 5 Christmas events around Ipswich

The Twighlight Christmas Parade was just the first of many events around the region.

THERE are plenty of exciting Christmas activities coming up.

It's official, Christmas has started in Ipswich

TIS THE SEASON: Plenty of families got into the holiday spirit at the Christmas Twilight Parade.

PHOTOS: Annual Twilight Parade draws hundreds, more events to come

What's on this weekend

Artist Eric Lennartson is in the process of completing his huge tape sculpture at the Ipswich Art Gallery.

Things to do in Ipswich

Taylor Lautner 'spotted smooching co-star'

Taylor Lautner has been romantically linked to Billie Lourd

David Beckham's tattoos come to life for UNICEF campaign

David Beckham has called for an end to violence against children

Pop star Liam Payne's Facebook hacked with porn

"Things that can happen to you when you don't have sex."

Tim Roth was abused by his grandfather

Tim Roth was abused by his grandfather during his childhood.

Leo designs shocker tattoo for Tom Hardy after lost bet

Leonardo DiCaprio has designed a new tattoo for Tom Hardy

Hollywood star at home on the Coffs Coast

FEELING LUCKY, SON?: Scott Eastwood visited the Coffs Coast

Guess which Hollywood star has been seen around the Coffs Coast?

INSIDE STORY: The highlights of your $150 million CBD

GRAND PLAN: The highlights of the Ipswich CBD redevelopment and where they will be located.

Work on city heart's radical transformation to begin next year

PHOTOS: World class CBD to lift Ipswich

An artist's impressions of the future Ipswich city mall.

Grand plans to transform city heart unveiled today

Developer's grand new multi-million dollar estate

NEW ESTATE: This is the only plan revealed by the property developer's new Billabongs Estate in Agnes Water.

DEVELOPER given the go ahead for a massive estate with 149 homes.

Couple's desperate $550K price drop to sell Gladstone home

Brian Headley and Kirstene Staib are selling their Kin Kora mansion for $750,000.

TELL tale sign of Gladstone's property market.

Banks reclaim Gladstone homes as job losses bite

LONG FALL: Property experts Heron Todd say, based on key market indicators, Gladstone is still travelling to the bottom of the market, with property prices set to get cheaper.

Property valuers say Gladstone housing market hasn't hit the bottom

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!