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Chris Dawson, Centre Of ‘The Teacher’s Pet, Has Been Found Guilty In The Murder Of Lyn Dawson

The decades long case has officially been closed.

By Lucy Cocoran
After several decades, one of Australia's biggest cold cases has finally been laid to rest. Following a nine week trial, Chris Dawson, subject of The Teacher's Pet podcast, has been found guilty of murdering his first wife, Lynette Dawson.
This afternoon, at the NSW Supreme Court, judge Ian Harrison handed down a guilty verdict to Chris Dawson after seven weeks of deliberation.
Justice Ian Harrison told the court Chris' claim that Lynette called him at the Northbridge Baths the day she disappeared was "a lie". He also took issue with Chris' claims that Lynette had kept in touch with him following her disappearance, but did not reach out to her parents, co-workers, friends or children. Stranger still, he asked why she would keep in touch with Chris exclusively when they were apparently experiencing marital problems.
Harrison found it odd that these phone calls always took place when no witnesses were around to confirm them, and said that Chris' recollection of the conversations were "lacking in context and pregnant with cliches."
Judge Harrison then rejected a sizeable chunk of the defences evidence, which included: all alleged sightings of Lynette after Jan 1982, the Northbridge Baths phone call on 9 Jan 1982, the calls to Chris Dawson after Jan 1982 and bankcard transactions by Lynette in Jan 1982. He then said he accepted the fact that she was dead.
Throughout the trial, Chris' defence team attempted to argue that Lynette had run away of her own volition in an attempt to escape her marital problems with Chris. One witness confirmed this to the court. The defence also relied heavily on five sightings in the two years following her disappearance from people who knew Lynette, including the Dawson family's former neighbours.
The prosecution, however, argued that Chris played a role in her vanishing, in an attempt to continue his extra-marital affair with one of his high-school students, known publicly as 'JC'. The Crown argued that Chris operated on three motives: a deep animosity for his wife, an overwhelming desire to be with JC and a drive to avoid financial complications involved with divorce.
JC has provided damning testimony, including one claim that Chris attempted to hire a hitman to kill Lynette — a plan which she said he did not go through with. Judge Harrison however, said he did not accept that this conversation took place.
After Lynette's disappearance in 1982, JC moved into the Dawson family home, and according to the podcast, would wear Lynette's jewellery and clothes, and look after their two young children. It took six weeks for Chris to report Lynette missing to police, and just a year for him to file for divorce from her on the grounds of abandonment. A year after that, Chris and JC were married.
For the next few years, two coronial inquests would be made between 2001 and 2003, both of which urged charges to be laid against Chris. The then-Director of Public Prosecutions Nicholas Cowdery, QC, refused to do so because he said there was not enough evidence.
It wasn't until 2015, when the NSW Police Force's unsolved homicide unit re-investigated Lyn's suspected murder that detectives requested at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions review its brief of evidence, which occurred in 2018. In September of that year, NSW Police dug up the Bayview property, but did not find a body.
Despite this, Chris was arrested in December 2018, with his trial taking place in May 2022 due to several delays, including the pandemic. During this time, the conditions of his bail was apparently varied, allowing him to report once a week to police rather than three times, per The Sydney Morning Herald.
This is a momentous occasion not only for Lynette's family, but for everyone with an interest in this case and a desire to see her death brought to justice.
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