Wood struggling to deal with freedom
Gordon Wood ... "I struggled with mentally adjusting and emotionally adjusting to life." Photo: Simon Alekna
Gordon Wood says he is struggling to adjust to life since being acquitted of murdering his girlfriend, whose body was found at the bottom of an infamous Sydney suicide spot almost 17 years ago.
The NSW Court of Criminal Appeal ordered Mr Wood's release from prison in February, after finding he did not murder his 24-year-old live-in girlfriend Caroline Byrne.
Mr Wood walked free three years and three months after a NSW Supreme Court jury had found him guilty of murdering the model by "spear throwing" her off a cliff at The Gap, a well-known suicide spot in Sydney's east, late on the night of June 7, 1995.
Interviewed on the Nine Network, he described his freedom as very odd.
"It's right but if feels difficult to adjust to," he said.
"I struggled with mentally adjusting and emotionally adjusting to life."
Mr Wood said he would forgive Ms Byrne's father Tony Byrne who continues to believe him to be guilty, even though the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has ruled out an appeal.
"Of course, without hesitation," he said.
"He was and always will be [the] love of my life's dad. I will never disrespect that."
Two days before her death, Ms Byrne had sought medical help and was due to see a psychiatrist on the day she died.
"She only told me of her depression a day or two before she committed suicide and I've reproached myself for maybe not being sensitive enough at the time of it," Mr Wood said.
"I had no idea it was as serious as it was."
Ms Byrne's mother Andrea Byrne took her own life in 1991 and Ms Byrne had attempted suicide soon after.
Mr Wood described the horror of going to a morgue to farewell Ms Byrne in 1995, only three years after he had met the woman to whom he had proposed.
"They let me say goodbye to her in the morgue," he said in a quavering voice.
"The lady took her hand out of the blue bag and she let me hold her hand. It was all I could say goodbye to."
Mr Wood said she was the "love of my life".
"I asked her to marry me within about three or four weeks. I just knew," he said.
"It wasn't something I had to think about. I just knew. She said yes straight away and we never looked back from there."
Mr Wood, who had previously worked as a driver to the late stockbroker Rene Rivkin, said he regretted missing out on building a career.
"I've lost all my money. I've spent all my money and all my family's money defending myself so I've got to make all that back," he said.
"I have a big responsibility to make it up to my family and to take care of my family for all they have been put through."
❏ Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; Mensline 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.