You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

John Bowie's daughter describes father 'choking' her mother, Roxlyn, shoving food down her shirt

ABC News (Sydney) logo ABC News (Sydney) 29/09/2022
Brenda Boyd, the only living child of John and Roxlyn Bowie, has given evidence during the trial. (Supplied: NSW Police) © Provided by ABC News Brenda Boyd, the only living child of John and Roxlyn Bowie, has given evidence during the trial. (Supplied: NSW Police)

The daughter of a man accused of murdering his wife 40 years ago has told a court she witnessed her father choke her mother and shove food down her shirt in the days before she disappeared.

John and Roxlyn Bowie's only living child has also said she was introduced to two of her father's love interests within three months of her mother's last known sighting.

Brenda Boyd was six-years-old and her brother, Warren, almost two when their mother was last seen alive at their Walgett home in the NSW north-west on June 5, 1982. 

John Douglas Bowie is facing a murder trial, accused of killing his wife. He has pleaded not guilty.

Ms Boyd became emotional while telling a Sydney court about her father being violent to her mother.

"I remember one argument when my dad was angry, and he threw his dinner plate and was shoving the food down mum's top," she said.

"He was choking her, and they were yelling, she was yelling at him to stop … it was in the hallway, maybe a couple of nights before [she disappeared]."

"I remember holding onto her leg and yelling at my dad to stop."

Ms Boyd said her last memory of Ms Bowie was the night of June 5, 1982, when she ate dinner with her parents and younger brother before her mother put her to bed.

When she woke the next morning, her mother was gone.

The now 47-year-old says that morning, Mr Bowie read her a letter he claimed was from her mother. 

Ms Boyd told the court she recalled him reading, "I'm sorry, I have to leave. I've been thinking of it for a while."

Ms Boyd said she remembers crying and asking Mr Bowie where her mother had gone. He replied that he "didn't know. He wished he knew, and that she won't be back ".

She told the court she and her brother Warren were taken from Walgett to Sydney by a family friend just days after her mother disappeared to live with Ms Bowie's parents.

Ms Boyd told a court within weeks of her mother's disappearance on June 5, 1982, her father introduced the children to a woman in Sydney, Gail Clarke, and described Ms Clarke's children as "their new brother and sister." 

The Crown is seeking to prove Mr Bowie killed his wife to pursue a "serious, unfettered relationship" with Ms Clarke, whom he met in Walgett and began a relationship with the month before Ms Bowie disappeared.

As Ms Clarke has since died, a statement she made to police in April 1988 was read to the court on day three of the trial.

She said she met Mr Bowie while on holiday in Walgett and he told her he and his wife "lived different lives and Roxlyn had a boyfriend."

In the statement, Ms Clarke said: "Towards the end of June 1982, John Bowie arrived at her home. Told her his wife had left him and suggested he move in with her."

She "refused this request" and saw him on a few more occasions before terminating the relationship "two or three weeks later".

Ms Clarke said while "he was extremely keen to form a serious relationship with her, she never entertained the idea".

In a police statement, Ms Clarke confirmed "she'd accompanied Mr Bowie to his in-laws at Killara (in Sydney's North Shore). She had also met his children on a number of occasions", and "Mr Bowie did not discuss his wife's disappearance".

Ms Bowie's daughter told the court that less than three months after her mother was last seen, she and her brother moved into a Sydney unit with her father and a woman he was seeing, Ann Archer, whom he later married.

Ms Boyd said there was frequent violence in her father's marriage to Ms Archer, with "choking, kicking, punching and screaming" from both parties. On one occasion, she says her father kicked Ms Archer in the knee, and she needed to wear a cast.

Ms Boyd said her bother Warren died in 2016 "without knowing what happened to her mother".

The jury trial is expected to run for six weeks.

More from ABC News (Sydney)

ABC News (Sydney)
ABC News (Sydney)
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon