Carel Theodorous GOTTGENS
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
But Byers’ story involved a scenario where police were unable to find Mr
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
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
Byers was convicted of Mr Gottgens murder in 1999, however a body was never
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
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
“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
Byers married young and was living in Darwin with her two sons and husband when
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