Australian teacher found guilty of murdering wife in 1982 while having affair with teenage student

HomeHealth

Australian teacher found guilty of murdering wife in 1982 while having affair with teenage student

An Australian teacher has been found guilty of murdering his wife 40 years ago while having an affair with his teenage student.Christopher Dawson, 74,

Biden gives Kamala ANOTHER job: President taps VP to run the first ever federal gun violence prevention office
Peter Daszak has received $6.5MILLION in US taxpayer money since ties to China revealed
Oral health: Dry mouth could be indicative of a brain degenerative condition – signs

An Australian teacher has been found guilty of murdering his wife 40 years ago while having an affair with his teenage student.

Christopher Dawson, 74, was convicted in the judge-only trial of killing wife Lynette in January 1982, after the hit true crime podcast series Teacher’s Pet triggered renewed public interest in the case.

A 2003 inquest had recommended charging Christopher Dawson with his wife’s murder but prosecutors declined, citing a lack of evidence.

Australian teacher Christopher Dawson has been found guilty of murdering his wife 40 years ago while having an affair with his teenage student

Australian teacher Christopher Dawson has been found guilty of murdering his wife 40 years ago while having an affair with his teenage student

Australian teacher Christopher Dawson has been found guilty of murdering his wife 40 years ago while having an affair with his teenage student

The former teacher was convicted in the judge-only trial of killing wife Lynette in January 1982 (pictured together)

The former teacher was convicted in the judge-only trial of killing wife Lynette in January 1982 (pictured together)

The former teacher was convicted in the judge-only trial of killing wife Lynette in January 1982 (pictured together)

Today, Supreme Court judge Ian Harrison found Dawson deliberately killed his wife to pursue a relationship with a teenage student he was having an affair with, known as JC, and who had babysat and lived in his Sydney home.

Dawson maintained his wife had left him and subsequently telephoned him to say she needed space, but the judge called his defence fanciful and riddled with lies.

The judge noted there was no record of Lynette contacting family or friends since her disappearance, nor of making credit card payments or working.

Dawson’s lawyer, Greg Walsh, told reporters outside court that his client would appeal the conviction.

‘I can confirm that it’s probable of course that he will appeal against his conviction,’ he said outside of court.

‘Mr Dawson has always asserted, and he still does, his absolute innocence of the crime of which he’s been convicted.

Dawson deliberately killed his wife to pursue a relationship with a teenage student he was having an affair with (pictured together), court ruled

Dawson deliberately killed his wife to pursue a relationship with a teenage student he was having an affair with (pictured together), court ruled

Dawson deliberately killed his wife to pursue a relationship with a teenage student he was having an affair with (pictured together), court ruled

TEACHER’S PET PODCASTER SPEAKS OUT 

Teacher’s Pet podcaster Hedley Thomas said outside the court that he did not think Chris Dawson would acknowledge his guilt for murdering Lynette, but that he hopes he would eventually and lead them to Lyn’s remains.

The journalist made the award-winning podcast about her disappearance 

He said prosecutor’s had done ‘an incredible job with what was a wholly circumstantial case.

‘A lot of criticism has been properly made of the police investigation. (Lyn) was treated as a runaway… in conditions that were so suspicious,’ he said.

He said Lyn Dawson vanished today there’d be ‘A strike force and a very strong focus on the spouse’.

He said Chris Dawson would ‘struggle in jail … but he’s had 40 years of freedom.’

<!—->

Advertisement

‘And he will continue to assert that innocence. And he’ll certainly appeal.’

Police charged Dawson with Lynette’s murder in 2018, four months after the final episode of Teacher’s Pet, which criticised the law enforcement response to her disappearance and featured multiple witness interviews.

Harrison, the judge, noted that the case against Dawson had been wholly circumstantial since Lynette’s body had never been found and there was no known cause, location or exact time of death.

But the combination of small pieces of evidence, including inconsistencies in Dawson’s defence, was persuasive and compelling, he said.

‘I am left in no doubt, I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt, that the only inference is that Lynette Dawson died … as a result of a conscious and voluntary act by Mr Dawson with the effect of causing her death.’

When police reopened their investigation they said only that it was because new witnesses had come forward, but media reports said law enforcement sources confirmed they were motivated by publicity generated by the Teachers Pet, which has been downloaded 30 million times.

Dawson’s defence argued that the podcast, produced by News Corp’s The Australian newspaper, denied him a fair trial because of the way he was depicted.

Harrison agreed the podcast had cast Dawson in a negative light but said he did not factor that into his verdict.

Dawson, who was on bail, was taken into custody while he awaits sentencing.

In his decision, Justice Harrison said that potentially losing JC in early 1982 was a motive for murder: ‘I am satisfied he resolved to kill his wife’, and that there was also the financial motive of potentially losing his investments. 

Chris Dawson arrives at the NSW Supreme Court on Tuesday to hear the verdict from Justice Harrison on his trial for the murder of his wife Lyn in 1982

Chris Dawson arrives at the NSW Supreme Court on Tuesday to hear the verdict from Justice Harrison on his trial for the murder of his wife Lyn in 1982

Chris Dawson arrives at the NSW Supreme Court on Tuesday to hear the verdict from Justice Harrison on his trial for the murder of his wife Lyn in 1982

Lyn’s brother Greg Simms and his wife Merilyn are seen outside court on Tuesday

Dawson has been found guilty of murdering his wife Lyn

Dawson has been found guilty of murdering his wife Lyn

Dawson has been found guilty of murdering his wife Lyn

‘The evidence does not reveal how he killed Lynette Dawson, nor where her body is now,’ he said. 

He said that the accused told a series of lies about his wife still being alive after her disappearance and about his missing her afterwards.

Lynette’s brother Greg Simms said his sister had been ‘betrayed by the man she loved’, and plead for her killer to reveal where her body is.

‘This is a milestone in our journey of advocating for Lyn, however the journey is not complete, she is still missing,’ he said outside court after the verdict was handed down.

‘We still need to bring her home, we’d ask Chris Dawson to find it in himself to finally do the decent thing and allow us to bring Lyn home to a peaceful rest, showing her the dignity she deserves.’

TIMELINE OF EVENTS FOLLOWING LYN DAWSON’S DISAPPEARANCE: 

January 1982 – Lynette ‘Lyn’ Dawson, 33, disappears from her home at Bayview on Sydney’s northern beaches, leaving behind two young daughters. The family’s babysitter, a schoolgirl who can only be identified as JC, moves into the home within days.

February – Chris Dawson, a teacher and former Newtown Jets rugby league player, reports his wife missing some six weeks after he says she disappeared.

2001 – An inquest recommended a ‘known person’ be charged with Mrs Dawson’s murder, but the Director of Public Prosecutions later says the evidence was not tested because no witnesses were called.

2003 – A second inquest calls witnesses and recommends a known person be charged with murder, referring the matter to the DPP. Again, no charges are laid.

2010 – NSW Police announce a $100,000 reward for any information leading to a conviction.

2014 – The reward is doubled to $200,000.

2015 – Strikeforce Scriven is established and the Dawsons’ entire Bayview block is mapped.

April 2018 – Scriven detectives request the DPP review their brief of evidence.

May – The Australian newspaper releases The Teacher’s Pet podcast about Mrs Dawson’s disappearance. It is eventually downloaded 60 million times worldwide.

July – NSW police commissioner Mick Fuller admits police ‘dropped the ball’ in the 1980s investigation.

September – Police dig up the backyard at the Bayview home the couple shared at the time of Mrs Dawson’s disappearance but don’t find remains or any items of interest.

December 5 – Chris Dawson is arrested on the Gold Coast and spends the night in a watch-house.

December 6 – Dressed in a polo shirt, shorts and thongs, the then 70-year-old is extradited to Sydney, where he’s charged with his first wife’s murder and appears in court via video link. His lawyer, Greg Walsh, says he ‘strenuously asserts his innocence’.

December 17 – Dawson is bailed to live back in his Queensland home.

August 8, 2019 – Magistrate Michael Allen warns that some reporting of the case could affect a fair trial, saying: ‘Someone would have to be living in a cave or be naive in the extreme to perhaps ignore the potential for unfairness to a person who receives this level of media scrutiny.’

February 11-13, 2020 – Magistrate Jacqueline Trad hears evidence before committing Dawson to stand trial for murder.

April 3 – Dawson formally pleads not guilty to murder, with his lawyers flagging an application for a permanent stay of proceedings.

September 25 – Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Fullerton grants Dawson only a nine-month halt to allow the ‘unrestrained and clamorous’ public commentary about his wife’s disappearance to abate before his trial.

June 11, 2021 – The Court of Criminal Appeal refuses a permanent halt to proceedings.

April 8, 2022 – The High Court backs the lower courts’ decisions not to permanently halt proceedings.

May 2 – Supreme Court Justice Robert Beech-Jones orders the trial to proceed before a judge alone following an application by Dawson.

May 9-July 11 – The trial is heard by Justice Ian Harrison, with prosecutors alleging Dawson was violent and abusive towards his wife and killed her to have an unfettered relationship with JC. Dawson’s lawyers pointed to various witnesses claiming to have seen Mrs Dawson alive and well after January 1982.

August 30 – Dawson is found guilty of murder.

<!—->

Advertisement

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 0
    DISQUS: 0