Carel Theodorous GOTTGENS



‘Black Widow’ killer Patricia Byers admits to murdering Carel Gottgens in bail bid

QUEENSLAND’S “black widow” killer has finally admitted to murdering her missing partner, in an attempt to get out of jail under the new “no body, no parole” laws.

Patricia Byers murdered one partner and tried to kill another by shooting him in the head as he slept.

Carel Gottgens — her first victim — was never found and Byers is using a loophole in the law to get out of jail, 17 years after she was convicted of his murder.

Now in a South Australian prison after requesting a transfer, Byers has finally confessed to killing Mr Gottgens, telling police she hit him with a blunt object and he fell in the Coomera River.

Her confession came soon after SA introduced a “no body, no parole” law, designed to reunite grieving families with the bodies of their loved ones.

But Byers’ story involved a scenario where police were unable to find Mr Gottgens’ body.

Detectives are understood to be sceptical of her confession, which goes against evidence given at trial that blood, believed to be Mr Gottgens’, was found in the bedroom.

A campaign is under way by families of missing murder victims to bring the same law to Queensland.

Mr Gottgens, Byers’ partner of eight years, disappeared in 1990 as he was preparing to leave her for another woman. She told his family he had run off.

It was only in 1993, when she shot John Asquith — but failed to kill him — during a romantic weekend aboard a boat, that police realised Mr Gottgens may have been murdered.

Police found evidence she had forged a series of documents to get hold of Mr Gottgens’ assets — including a luxury house and boat.

A forensic examination of the couple’s bedroom found evidence of blood on the walls that could have belonged to Mr Gottgens. Byers denied killing him and claimed he was still alive.

The “black widow” murderer had used the same tactic on her second victim, forging Mr Asquith’s signature to take out a hefty life insurance policy with her as a beneficiary.

Homicide detective Acting Superintendent Damien Hansen said police from Queensland flew to SA to meet with Byers.

“We have conducted a search after she gave us some informa­tion. We did not find any remains and we have reported that back,” he said.

South Australia’s Corrections Minister, Peter Malinauskas, would not discuss Byers’ parole application but it is understood she has been moved to a facility to ­prepare for parole.



Queensland’s ‘Black Widow’ Patricia Byers could be released from prison

A prisoner dubbed Queensland’s “Black Widow” could be released on parole in a matter of months.

After serving almost 25 years of a life sentence, there are concerns Patricia Byers may have figured out a way to walk free.

In 1993, John Asquith was in a relationship with Byers when the couple took a yacht trip on Moreton Bay.

After dinner and a few drinks, Mr Asquith went to bed.

In what is understood to be a ploy to obtain Mr Asquith’s life insurance, Byers shot him in the head at close range with a sawn-off shotgun while he slept.

Byers’ plans were thwarted when Mr Asquith survived, contacted the coastguard and later testified against his partner in court.

After the attack on Mr Asquith, police suspicions were raised about a previous relationship Byers had.

Carel Gottgens, 51, was in a relationship with Byers until he disappeared in 1990.

Byers was convicted of Mr Gottgens murder in 1999, however a body was never located.

The 72-year-old has made four applications for parole over the years and there are concerns her latest attempt could pay off.

In 2009, Byers was transferred to a prison in South Australia to be closer to her son Alan Byers.

The “No body, no parole” law was introduced in South Australia in July 2015.

It prevents convicted murderers, who deliberately withhold information about the whereabouts of a body, from being considered for release by a parole board.

Hoping to succeed with her latest parole attempt, in 2016 Byers finally confessed to the murder of Mr Gottgens.

She told Detectives she was with Mr Gottgens at Queensland’s Logan River in July 1990.

She said she struck him in the back of the head with a machete causing his body to slump into the water.

However, there are doubts that Byers is telling the truth.

“We conducted a search after she gave us the information,” Acting Superintendent Damien Hansen said at the time.

“We did not find any remains and we have reported that back.”

At the original trial, Byers told investigators Mr Gottgens had run off with another woman and she didn’t know his whereabouts. The couple had been in a relationship for eight years before he disappeared.

Investigators suspected Byers had killed Mr Gottgens at their home because his blood was found in the couple’s bedroom.

They also found evidence that Byers had forged documents to claim Mr Gottgens’ boat and luxury house.

Mr Gottgens children from a previous marriage contested the changes and had the deeds reverted back to their fathers name.

Similarly, Byers also forged Mr Asquith’s signature on multiple life insurance documents, making her the sole beneficiary to his assets.

With the similarities in Byers criminal history, some believe there could be more victims. 

“There are even concerns about what happened to her first husband. He died when they were out shooting,” True Crime Australia executive editor Kathy Lipari told Weekend TODAY.

Byers married young and was living in Darwin with her two sons and husband when he died.

Ms Lipari also said Byers eldest son was killed when he was a passenger on a motorbike she was in control of.

Her son was decapitated in the accident.

“She’s an amazing manipulator with an incredible criminal mind,” Ms Liapri said.

Most other Australian states have adopted the “No body, no parole” laws and if Byers is granted release, the families of her victims are concerned for their safety.