Thursday 18 August 2022 01:25 AM Bradley Dawson in court for wife Christe Chen's murder in Fiji trends now
The newlywed husband accused of murdering his pharmacist wife in their luxury bungalow on a private Fiji island confessed to police - but later walked back his confession, claiming she was alive when he abandoned her after a drunken fight, new documents reveal.
Bradley Thomas Dawson, 38, is accused of murdering Christe Chen, 36, on July 9 at the secluded $3,500-a-night Turtle Island Resort. The couple, who married in February, had only checked into the resort two days earlier.
Dawson appeared at the Lautoka High Court in Fiji on Wednesday evening, where his bail hearing was delayed for a second time, until September 1. He has not entered a plea.
The state is still to disclose its evidence against Dawson and told Justice Riyaz Hamza that it needed another 14 days to file the post mortem examination report and crime scene photographs.
Chen's death was ruled a murder by the medical examiner who found that she died from a traumatic brain injury caused by a brain bleed, severe traumatic head injuries, multiple traumatic injuries to her body.
Her cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. Her body was so badly injured she was not able to be embalmed, her family's lawyer told DailyMail.com.
In disclosure documents obtained by DailyMail.com, police said at Dawson's first interview with police he 'confessed to the offence'. But later, he remained 'silent after seeking legal advice'.
Bradley Thomas Dawson, 38, is accused of murdering Christe Chen, 36, on July 9 at the secluded $3,500-a-night Turtle Island Resort. He appeared in court on Wednesday evening (ET), where he was held on bail
Chen's death was ruled a murder by the medical examiner who found that she died from a traumatic brain injury caused by a brain bleed, severe traumatic head injuries, multiple traumatic injuries to her body
Police claim that Dawson confessed to them 'about the crime' in his initial interview, but later walked back that confession after seeking legal advice. He now maintains that Chen was alive when he left her, after the pair had a drunken fight, and that her death was an accident. PICTURED: Dawson is seen being led back to a prison van while handcuffed to another prisoner
Dawson arrived at Lautoka High Court on Wednesday evening (ET) - August 18, local time - carrying a small blue suitcase
Dawson and Chen married in February after a whirlwind romance, three months after they first met, and her parents had paid for the honeymoon.
The night Chen died, she and Dawson had attended a party - dubbed 'family fun night' - with island staff and other guests on the beach where both were 'very drunk'. Witnesses exclusively told DailyMail.com that tensions arose between the couple when Dawson started acting inappropriately with someone else at the party.
'They were enjoying themselves and drinking quite a lot but towards the end they looked troubled,' the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.
It's understood the couple then left the party and their argument continued on the beach before they headed back to their private bungalow about midnight, where the fight continued.
'Not long after that, guests in the bungalow next door said they heard arguing, a loud scream, and then silence,' a source told DailyMail.com.
DailyMail.com revealed that Chen was found bloodied on the bathroom floor by a personal butler around midday. She had suffered multiple traumatic injuries to her body and shoulders, lacerations to her face and blunt force trauma to the head, according to a post-mortem exam report.
A source told DailyMail.com that the lid of the toilet's cistern was cracked and broken. The couple's personal butler found her body squashed and slumped between the tiny space between the toilet and the wall, badly beaten and covered in blood, according to sources.
Chen and Dawson, who met in November 2021, married after a whirlwind romance three months later. She was found dead just two days into their honeymoon at the elite private resort, which her parents - who were regulars there - had paid for
Chen's body was so badly beaten that she was unable to be embalmed and her parents had to cremate her before bringing her ashes back to the United States. She is pictured with Dawson
The couple's personal butler found Chen's body squashed and slumped between the tiny space between the toilet and the wall, badly beaten and covered in blood. The lid of the toilet's cistern was cracked
A lawyer for Chen's family, Ronald Gordon, told DailyMail.com that her body was so badly beaten that she was unable to be embalmed and her parents had to cremate her before bringing her ashes back to the United States. He added that she suffered such deep lacerations to both sides of her head, near her eyes, that the embalming fluid would have leaked.
On the night Chen was killed, Dawson was seen walking the length of Turtle Island in the early hours of the morning by the night watchman, before he went back toward the private bungalow.
Dawson left his GPS watch and mobile phone in the bungalow, but took his wallet and passport before fleeing across the water, 1.2 miles away to a secluded beach on Matacawa Levu Island. Gordon said it suggested that he'd been headed toward the mainland - which is about a two or three hour boat ride away - in the hopes of fleeing Fiji.
But Dawson never made it that far, and he was discovered - with cuts and bruises - about 3pm on July 10, by a local man as he walked toward the island's village. Manoa Ratulele, 49, told DailyMail.com that Dawson told him that he used a kayak to paddle to the island between 2am and 3am on Saturday morning after having a fight with Chen.
The kayak Dawson claimed he'd traveled on has never been found, according to Chen's family lawyer.
Dawson vanished after Chen's body was discovered by hotel staff.