Daughter's plea for closure as wife-killer awaits fate
The daughter of wife-killer John Douglas Bowie has told a court she and her brother personally searched for their mother's body, which has never been found.
Brenda Boyd was aged six when her 31-year-old mother disappeared from their home at Walgett, in northern NSW, in June 1982.
Her father told her he had found a note from Roxlyn Bowie saying she had to leave, but he didn't know where she was.
The 72-year-old Bowie was found guilty by a jury of her murder in October.
Justice Dina Yehia reserved sentencing Bowie following a hearing in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday.
"It's not my practice to reserve for too long, but I will need at least two weeks," she said.
Ms Boyd earlier read a victim impact statement, partly written with her younger brother Warren during a 2014 inquest.
He died in 2016, but Ms Boyd told the court the pair took shovels to dig in areas suggested to them over the years as well as putting up missing person posters searching for their mother.
They also heard details of their father's extra-marital affairs at the inquest, and how much their mother endured before disappearing from their lives.
It was "emotional and embarrassing" when Bowie was charged with murder in 2019, and Ms Boyd travelled hours daily to attend the trial, delayed by COVID-19.
"Seeing my father in the dock was upsetting to me, but I was doing it for my mum," she said.
She pleaded with her father to say what happened to her mother's body.
"Please reveal the truth ... it's all I want," she said.
Justice Yehia said she was not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt by the possibility presented at trial by crown prosecutor Alex Morris that Roxlyn Bowie had been fed to pigs, but the continued absence of a body would impact Bowie's sentence.
"He disposed of her body in such a way that police have not been able to recover it," she said.
Forensic psychologist Julie Dombrowski prepared a report for Bowie's sentencing in February, saying prison will be "especially onerous" for him due to his "failing health" and "placement in protective custody".
However, on Friday it was confirmed Bowie is not in protective custody.
"His current housing is no more or less restrictive than mainstream custody," Ms Dombrowski said after receiving confirmation Bowie had been given "special management area placement", a step below protective custody for at-risk inmates.
Her initial assessment was based on Bowie's self-reports.
Defence barrister Winston Terracini SC said the report was required to make sure nothing was missed, but did not suggest Bowie had any significant psychological issues.
Mr Terracini submitted the judge would not be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt Bowie had coerced his wife into writing farewell notes and there was almost no evidence he had planned to kill her.
"In terms of his behaviour after (her death) ... a lot of the evidence is basically consistent with trying to conceal what happened as opposed to planning it in advance," he said.
The evidence Bowie killed his wife to pursue another relationship was also "extremely weak", Mr Terracini said.
Bowie is in custody and will be sentenced at a later date.