Scott Watson's dad responds to Gerald Hope's letter: "a slap in the face"

Publish Date
Wednesday, 14 December 2016, 7:57AM
Ben Smart, 21, and Olivia Hope, 17, were last seen boarding a yacht after celebrating New Year Eve with friends at Furneaux Lodge. PHOTO/supplied

Ben Smart, 21, and Olivia Hope, 17, were last seen boarding a yacht after celebrating New Year Eve with friends at Furneaux Lodge. PHOTO/supplied

"A slap in the face" - that's how the father of convicted double murderer Scott Watson has labelled the reaction of Gerald Hope to meeting in prison the man sent away for killing his daughter.

His response comes after the long-awaited meeting between Scott Watson and Gerald Hope, whose daughter Olivia disappeared on New Year's Day in 1998 along with friend Ben Smart.

Hope and Watson spoke for six hours last month in prison in a meeting which North & South journalist Mike White helped organise and also attended.

For Hope, it was a meeting he sought to learn the "truth". He had challenged Watson - "convince me that you are innocent and I'll back you".

He didn't convince him and Hope issued a statement with a list of concerns yesterday.

That prompted Scott Watson's father, Chris Watson's response last night.

He said he read Hope's views with "some surprise".

"After the trouble and expense that Scott, his legal rep, and I went to, to fulfil his wish to meet with Scott, his uninformed views can only be regarded as a slap in the face."

He said he would have reminded Hope - if he had been present - that his son was "nearly as uninformed as himself as to the finer points of this case".

Chris Watson also said he was concerned at a drawing which Hope had obtained. Hope had attributed it to Scott Watson, saying it showed "a disturbed person, evil depictions and undertones of death and retribution".

He said his son had found himself prone to people taking almost anything from his cell.

He said it was "theft of a private document" which was nothing more than "a childish doodle hitting out at the people who were tormenting him".

He challenged Hope's assertions around the case, including a circumstantial scenario in which Scott Watson had apparently put his victims' bodies into sleeping bags and dumped them over the side of his yacht Blade.

"The logistics of Mr Hope's bodies in the sleeping bag theory defy reason. How does one lift two dead bodies from within the boat to deck level, insert them into a sleeping bag and then lift both over the railings?"

He said the questions of his son's arrival at Erie Bay was disputed by evidence which undermined the police case. Statements from the family he was visiting "stretch" the time, as did the key witnesses' testimony after marijuana was found by police on his property, he said.

He said the question by Hope over the time Scott Watson arrived back on Blade had been debunked. He said it was not possible to answer Hope's question of whether Scott Watson had arrived at 2am or 4am because evidence had undermined the police case.

- NZ Herald