Dozens of purple balloons were released on a beach in Townsville in north Queensland last night to mark 10 years since the death of honeymoon dive victim Tina Watson.
The 26-year-old from the US was on her honeymoon when she drowned while scuba diving with her husband, Gabe Watson, on the Great Barrier Reef in 2003.
He was convicted of manslaughter and served about 18 months in a prison at Ipswich, west of Brisbane.
On his return to the US, new evidence saw him charged with murder, but he was later acquitted, with the trial judge citing a lack of evidence.
Her parents asked for a memorial service marking 10 years since her death to be held in Townsville.
As the waves rolled in, dozens of people gathered wearing Ms Watson’s favourite colour purple.
Candles were lit and placed into the waters, just kilometres from where her body was found.
Her parents were unable to attend but in a letter that was read out, they thanked the north Queensland community for its support.
“This has been so hard not being there tonight and we will shed a lot of tears as we know you are there by that water,” the family said in the letter.
Police detective Senior Constable Kevin Gehringer remembered Tina Watson through a verse from the Bible.
Senior Constable Gehringer, who worked on the case, says the service was about remembering her.
“The investigation with Tina’s death was a long and prolonged matter and over those years I got to know the family exceptionally well,” he said.
“I suppose I consider them close friends now and we’ve formed a bond and obviously I thought it important to come down and honour Tina.”