Chris Dawson, the subject of The Teacher’s Pet podcast, was found guilty of murdering his wife and disposing of her body over 40 years ago. –
Former Sydney teacher Chris Dawson was convicted of killing his wife Lynette and disposing of her body more than 40 years ago.
The 74-year-old Dawson maintained his innocence during the 10-week trial, which ended on Tuesday, of killing his wife and the mother of his two girls in 1982 after she vanished from their Bayview home on Sydney’s northern beaches.
Though Justice Ian Harrison accepted the Crown prosecution’s case that he killed his wife and dismembered her body in order to flee and begin a new life with his student and his family’s nanny, JC, Justice Ian Harrison today found him guilty after a protracted hearing that lasted more than five hours.
Just a few weeks after he had attempted to flee to Queensland with JC, the judge declared that it was likely that Dawson had murdered Lynette in January 1982.
In order to give “an impression that was inconsistent with him having any involvement with the abduction of his wife,” Justice Harrison continued, Dawson had lied.
By the lies Mr. Dawson said after Lynette Dawson vanished, Justice Harrison remarked, “I’m strengthened in my eventual decision in this trial that context is only explicable demonstrating a guilty conscience referable to the killing of Lynette Dawson.”
The judge concurred with the prosecution that despite claims from witnesses that they had seen Lynette over the years, the sightings were either unreliable or instances of mistaken identity.
In January 1982, Lynette Dawson, a mother of two, disappeared from Sydney’s Northern Beaches. She was the focus of the well-liked podcast The Teacher’s Pet, hosted by journalist Hedley Thomas. In the midst of the court case, the podcast had been taken down.
Despite Lynette never being located or getting in touch with her daughters, family, or friends since going missing, Dawson, a member of the Newtown Jets rugby league team, was sure that she fled.
Dawson was “a little taken aback” when he was initially arrested in December 2018 according to the police.
Prior to the trial, his legal team had worked on a request for a permanent stay of the proceedings.
The application stated that a trial would be “irredeemably unjust” if there was considerable pre-trial publicity, including a podcast.
It further stated that any trial would unavoidably be unfair due to the gap in time between Lynette’s alleged murder in January 1982 and his prosecution.
However, Dawson was ordered to stand trial by the Supreme Court judge, and the Court of Criminal Appeal upheld that ruling earlier this month.
In the summary, it was said that “the court concurred with the primary judge that the prejudice to Mr. Dawson caused by the pre-trial publicity and delay in this matter is quite substantial.”
However, it was also ruled that any prejudice against Mr. Dawson may be appropriately mitigated or addressed by the judge’s detailed instructions to the jury throughout the trial.
While fairness is a factor, Chief Justice Bathurst stated that it was also important to take the community’s interest in taking individuals accused of major crimes to trial into account.
Chris Dawson will be given a sentence later, and it is likely that he will serve the remainder of his life in prison.