18 years on, Scott Watson maintains his innocence

Ben Smart and Olivia Hope
Ben Smart and Olivia Hope

After 18 years behind bars, convicted double-murderer Scott Watson has broken his silence.

Earlier this year Watson spoke with journalist Mike White, and he maintains he never killed or even met Olivia Hope and Ben Smart.

After a High Court ruling granted him the interview, Wellington-based journalist Mr White spent seven hours at Rolleston Prison talking to the convicted double-murderer.

"Scott Watson's been this figure in everyone's imagination, yet we've never heard from the man right at the centre of this murder investigation. So obviously when Scott Watson invited me to speak to him I thought it would be a good idea," says Mr White.

In North and South magazine, Watson discusses his conviction for murdering the Blenheim pair in the Marlborough Sounds on New Year's Day, 1998.

He also explains why after 18 years he's now breaking his silence.

"It's the truth. I've got nothing to lose," Watson says. "Worst-case scenario, I've resigned myself to the fact they're going to do their darndest to keep me in jail forever, and something needs to be said."

Watson maintains his innocence and dismisses the police's key evidence against him. He suggests two of Olivia Hope's blond hairs found on a blanket in his boat were planted, says the painting of his boat shortly after the pair's disappearance was long planned and says he holds no animosity towards Guy Wallace – a crucial prosecution witness who later retracted his story.

"I don't know where Ben and Olivia are. I've never met them, never seen them. They definitely never came on my boat and I definitely didn't murder them," he says.

Mr White has covered the case from the outset.

"Nothing Scott Watson has said to me during our interviews has made me feel any better about the fact he is in prison. If anything it's confirmed my doubts and unease about the conviction."

Watson remains in Rolleston Prison after his first parole bid was rejected earlier this year.

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