WARNING: Distressing content

American dad Chris Watts has claimed he would never had killed his wife, two daughters and unborn son if he had not met his mistress.

The 34-year-old is serving a life sentence in the United States for killing his wife Shanann, 34 — who was carrying his unborn son, Nico — and two daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, so he could be with his lover, Nichol "Nikki" Kessinger.

Author Cheryln Cadle has drawn on correspondence with the killer for her explosive new book Letters From Christopher, news.com.au reports.

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Chris Watts met Nikki Kessinger two months before carrying out his awful crimes. Photo / Weld County District Attorney's office
Chris Watts met Nikki Kessinger two months before carrying out his awful crimes. Photo / Weld County District Attorney's office

"If I had not met Nikki, I would never have killed my family," Watts told the author.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Cadle said Watts was "mesmerised" by his mistress.

"She showed him respect that he didn't feel like he'd ever been shown before," Cadle said.

In August last year, Watts strangled Shanann and buried her body in a shallow grave.

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He also smothered both his little girls and dumped their bodies in separate oil tanks on a remote oilfield owned by his employer at the time, Anadarko.

Cadle claims in the book that Watts clearly remembered the look on Shanann's face as he strangled her.

Chris Watts confessed to murdering his wife Shanann and their two girls in 2018. Photo / news.com.au
Chris Watts confessed to murdering his wife Shanann and their two girls in 2018. Photo / news.com.au

"Isn't it weird how I look back and what I remember so much is her face getting all black with streaks of mascara?" Watts told Cadle.

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"I knew if I took my hands off of her, she would still keep me from Nikki. They asked me why she couldn't fight back; it's because she couldn't fight back."

He claims to still be in love with the mistress, who he had been seeing for two months before carrying out the horrific murders.

Watts was so enamoured with Kessinger when she told him she wanted to "give him his first son", he allegedly tried to cause his wife to miscarry by giving her a strong painkiller.

"Christopher says he loved her like he has never loved anyone else before," Cadle told the Daily Mail. "At the same time, he loves Shanann, although he knows that she was not his soulmate and not the person he was supposed to be with."

He told the author he felt "free" to be with Kessinger and felt "no remorse" after the heinous crime.

Chris Watts said if he hadn't met his co-worker and lover Nichol Kessinger, he wouldn't have killed his family. Photo / Weld County District Attorney's office
Chris Watts said if he hadn't met his co-worker and lover Nichol Kessinger, he wouldn't have killed his family. Photo / Weld County District Attorney's office

"The darkness inside of me had won, it was still in me, though, I thought maybe permanently. I felt evil, swallowed up by this thing inside of me. I felt like I could kill anything and be justified for doing it," Watts said.

According to the Daily Mail, Watts has wondered about where Kessinger is and told Cadle he had received letters and postcards, signed with different names, and wondered if they might be from her.

The 65-year-old author from Illinois wondered why Watts trusted her to reveal his disturbing, dark secrets despite the hundreds of offers he had received.

"I think he responded because I felt like, even though it was such a heinous crime, that he could still be used in prison to help other people. It was clear that he felt the same way. So I think when I wrote that, maybe no one else had said that to him," Cadle told the publication.

Chris Watts said he loved Nikki Kessinger like he has never loved anyone else before. Photo / Weld County District Attorney's office
Chris Watts said he loved Nikki Kessinger like he has never loved anyone else before. Photo / Weld County District Attorney's office

Watts agreed to allow Cadle to use his letters in exchange for publishing his "testimony of coming to God and the forgiveness he received".

"The agreement was he would take no money for himself or his family," she said.

Cadle communicated with Watts after he was jailed, with the letters and her one-on-one conversations forming part of her new book.

How he killed his family

Watts' letter, obtained by the Daily Mail, lays out how the father of two, with a son on the way, smothered his daughters before strangling his pregnant wife at their home in Frederick, Colorado.

He claimed in the letter he smothered the two girls first, using a pillow from their bed — but they woke up.

Watts told police he then killed his wife, but when the two little girls woke, they moved to the bedroom and watched on as he began to wrap his wife in a bed sheet.

"After Shanann had passed, Bella and Cece woke back up. I'm not sure how they woke back up, but they did," Watts said.

Chris Watts with his two daughters who he murdered. Photo / news.com.au
Chris Watts with his two daughters who he murdered. Photo / news.com.au

"Bella's eyes were bruised and both girls looked like they had been through trauma. That made the act that much worse knowing I went to their rooms first and knowing I still took their lives at the location of the batteries."

He then drove his wife's body to a remote oilfield with his daughters in the back seat of his truck.

"I dumped Shanann on the ground, then I walked back to the truck and with the blanket that Celeste was holding, I put it over her head and smothered her," Watts said in the letter.

He squeezed her body through a hatch in one of the oil tankers before moving on to kill his eldest daughter, Bella — giving a chilling recount of how she "put up a fight".

"Out of all three, Bella is the only one that put up a fight. I will hear her soft little voice for the rest of my life, saying, 'Daddy, NO!!!' She knew what I was doing to her. She may not have understood death, but she knew I was killing her."

He then diverted his attention back to Shanann, dug her a shallow grave and dumped her body.

Watts is serving life in prison without parole at a Wisconsin jail after pleading guilty to murdering Shanann, Bella, Celeste and Nico.

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Where to go for help or more information:

• Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz
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• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and middle eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584
• Ministry of Justice: www.justice.govt.nz/family-justice/domestic-violence
• National Network of Stopping Violence: www.nnsvs.org.nz
• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent. www.whiteribbon.org.nz

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