Evil wife killer Chris Dawson gets 24 YEAR prison sentence for Teacher’s Pet murder


The family of Chris Dawson’s murdered wife Lynette say they hope the Teacher’s Pet killer will live to serve out the full term of the 24-year sentence he was handed on Friday, in order to maximise his punishment.

NSW Supreme Court Justice Ian Harrison handed down the sentence on Friday afternoon and imposed a minimum non-parole period of 18 years  – by which time Dawson would be 92 years old.

Lynette’s brother Greg said after the hearing that there should be no mercy on account of Dawson’s age, and the former Newtown Jets player and school teacher should get the full penalty for the murder 40 years ago.

He said he hoped Dawson ‘lives a long life in order to serve that sentence’.

‘Today marks the end of a long, painful, challenging journey,’ Mr Simms said, adding that Dawson had ’40 years of freedom and now it’s our turn to live’. 

 Mr Simms also requested that his late sister from now on be referred to as Lynette Simms, rather than carry the surname of her killer.

‘Chris Dawson discarded her, the Dawsons disregarded her,’ Mr Simms said. 

Wife killer Chris Dawson, depicted in a court sketch in prison greens after his conviction, will likely die in jail after being sentenced on Friday

Wife killer Chris Dawson, depicted in a court sketch in prison greens after his conviction, will likely die in jail after being sentenced on Friday

Dawson showed no emotion as he was sentenced, appearing in person in prison greens, before being led back to the cells in handcuffs.  

Justice Harrison said Dawson was a ‘selfish and cynical’ killer who treated his wife as ‘completely dispensable’. 

He said Lynette Dawson was ‘faultless and undeserving of her fate … and completely unsuspecting’.

He said the murder was ‘neither spontaneous nor unavoidable’ and he had shown ‘self-indulgent brutality’ by killing Lynette. 

Christopher Dawson (above with wife Lynette, who he murdered) is being sentenced for killing Lynette Dawson in 1982 to make way for his schoolgirl babysitter lover

Christopher Dawson (above with wife Lynette, who he murdered) is being sentenced for killing Lynette Dawson in 1982 to make way for his schoolgirl babysitter lover

‘He killed her by a voluntary act with the intention of causing her death,’ Justice Harrison said. 

His Honour said Dawson had led a ‘normal life’ for 36 years between his wife’s disappearance and his arrest in 2018, before being convicted of her murder in August.

The arrest came after the production of a popular podcast called Teacher’s Pet about the disappearance of Ms Dawson and how Dawson moved one of his former school students and teenage babysitter into the marital home soon afterward as his lover.

His older brother, solicitor Peter Dawson, who has strenuously denied his younger brother’s guilt in two inquests and the murder trial, arrived at court with the killer’s lawyer Greg Walsh and sat next to him at the bar table.

Dawson sat stock still in the dock in his prison greens, briefly acknowledging his brother before the judge entered the court. 

Lynette Dawson’s family, including her brother Greg and his wife Merilyn, all wore pink ribbons and took the front row in the court. 

NSW Homicide Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty attended the sentencing and met Lynette’s family in the court.  

After the sentencing, Mr Walsh told waiting media he had now quit the case and another lawyer would handle any appeal.

Asked if he’d spoken with Dawson about helping locate just wife’s body, Mr Walsh said ‘I’ve done my best, I’ve no means to persuade him.’

He said when he posed the question, Dawson’s reply was: ‘I don’t where she is. I didn’t murder her.’

Chris Dawson's lawyer Greg Walsh said he had 'done my best' to find out what happened to Lynette Dawson, as he announced he would now be withdrawing from the case

Chris Dawson’s lawyer Greg Walsh said he had ‘done my best’ to find out what happened to Lynette Dawson, as he announced he would now be withdrawing from the case

Mr Walsh said Dawson ‘still maintains his innocence’ but that the crime was of ‘enormous severity … the murder of a loving, caring mother and wife.’

Mr Walsh worried about an elderly Dawson’s vulnerability in prison, as he’d had other clients who had been ‘murdered in jail, very seriously injured’ and that ‘jails are dangerous places’.

‘With his profile, and the fact that he is aged, and he is not in good health and he’s got serious problems in respect of – I think onset dementia and also his hips, et cetera, he would find it very difficult to defend himself. 

‘Prisoners with notoriety like him are general stood over.’ 

He said he was walking away from the case after four years and that barrister Belinda Rigg SC would mount Dawson’s appeal.

But he said Dawson would likely spend the rest of his life in jail, forever separated from his children and third wife, Susan.

‘The reality is he knows he will spend in all probability the rest of his days in jail.’

The sentence comes three weeks after emotional submissions by Dawson’s eldest daughter Shanelle as she faced her father across a court room and told him he ‘had no right’ to murder her mother. 

‘You are not God,’ said Shanelle – the older of two girls Dawson had with first wife Lynette before murdering her in 1982 – said in her victim impact statement

Dawson’s lawyer has previously said the killer had declined mentally and physically since he was jailed on his conviction to the extent he sometimes ‘can’t remember what jail he’s in’. 

Chris Dawson in his suit on verdict day in August before he was convicted of the 1982 murder of Lynette Dawson and taken away to prison where he may now likely die

Chris Dawson in his suit on verdict day in August before he was convicted of the 1982 murder of Lynette Dawson and taken away to prison where he may now likely die 

Mr Walsh revealed earlier this month that Dawson is constantly taunted and threatened by other inmates yelling out at him ‘Teacher’s Pet, Teacher’s Pet, I’ll cut ya throat’- referencing the name of a popular podcast about the case.

Mr Walsh said Dawson was suffering from a football knock injury which caused dementia, had a heart condition and still suffered from a fractured hip injury.

Justice Harrison found in August that Dawson had been powerfully motivated by wanting to get rid of his wife so as to continue his affair with schoolgirl babysitter JC, and had told a series of lies in the decades since, cruelly deceiving Lynette’s family.

In October, NSW introduced toughened new ‘no body, no parole’ laws which mean killers would have to show authorities the location of their victims’ remains to secure release from prison. 

Mr Walsh said Dawson had been ‘losing consciousness, slurring words and can’t recall name of jail he’s in’. 

Lyn Dawson’s brother Greg Simms said in his victim impact statement on November 10 that his former brother-in-law was a ‘conniving monster’ who had cruelly lied to betrayed Lynette’s family.

‘You were accepted into our family unconditionally when you married Lyn, the statement said

‘We trusted you. You repaid us by giving us the ultimate betrayal.

‘You betrayed out trust, left a huge hole which cannot be replaced.’

Mr Simms’ statement said that there had been ‘constant heartache and tears’ since ‘you carried out your foul deed’. 

Lynette Dawson's brother Greg Simms and his wife Merilyn are seen outside the Supreme Court earlier this month

Dawson's daughter Shanelle Dawson gave an emotional victim impact statement three weeks ago

Dawson’s daughter Shanelle Dawson (right) and Lynette’s brother Greg Simms (left with wife Merilyn) gave emotional victim impact statements and begged Dawson to reveal location of Lyn’s body

Lynette Dawson (above with Shanelle) had found it hard to conceive and doted on her two daughters to Chris Dawson, who were four and two when she vanished in 1982

Lynette Dawson (above with Shanelle) had found it hard to conceive and doted on her two daughters to Chris Dawson, who were four and two when she vanished in 1982

When asked if he wanted Dawson to die in jail, Mr Simms said, ‘he’s got to do his time.

‘What I want is for Chris Dawson is to tell me where my sister is.’

The court subsequently heard the reasons from prosecutor Craig Everson SC why Dawson should be given a lengthy sentence which would mean he would die in jail. 

Prosecutor Craig Everson had advocated a lengthy sentence despite Dawson’s advanced age, due to the fact it was ‘a deliberate and conscious act to kill’ Lyn and ‘the extent of the planning’ Dawson had made.

The other reasons were that Lyn Dawson had been ‘killed in her own home’ the ‘concealment of the body’ which enhanced the murder’s seriousness and ‘the substantial harm caused to others’.

Following his client’s conviction in August, Mr Walsh said that Dawson would be appealing the guilty verdict. 

Mr Walsh told the sentencing hearing that Dawson’s case ‘was not the most serious in terms of culpability’.

‘He has been subject to the most constant publicity one has seen, constant for at least two decades and in recent times it has portrayed the offender as the most egregious villain, immoral, perverted, greedy and cold and calculating who sought a hit man.’

Mr Walsh said that for Dawson it was ‘Teacher’s Pet, day in, day out (he’s) constantly referred to in this way’, but it was unclear whether he was referring to Dawson’s harassment since being incarcerated.

He said that while there had been planning by Dawson to murder his wife, the ‘degree of planning was not the most sophisticated’.

Dawson's lawyer Greg Walsh said Dawson has received serious death threats from a number of inmates at Silverwater jail and then was constantly taunted by prisoners near Wellington in central western NSW with chants of 'Teacher's Pet, Teacher's Pet'

Dawson’s lawyer Greg Walsh said Dawson has received serious death threats from a number of inmates at Silverwater jail and then was constantly taunted by prisoners near Wellington in central western NSW with chants of ‘Teacher’s Pet, Teacher’s Pet’

Investigators working the Lynette Dawson case have established two solid theories – the first was that Lynette was buried in the backyard of the family home the couple shared with their young daughters on Sydney‘s northern beaches.

Police excavations of the yard over the years and ground penetrating technology failed to provide any significant clues, except for a pink cardigan with what appeared to be knife marks that experts were unable to link to Lynette.

‘There was the (other) theory that he travelled to the Central Coast on January 9,’ a police source told The Daily Telegraph

‘The challenge with that is that there is no physical evidence to point in any direction… there is a lot of regional bush area… there is no possible way to search it, it’s so vast.’

Prosecutors in the trial argued Dawson gave the couple’s two daughters to a friend to look after on January 9 to give him the opportunity to hide the body.

Justice Harrison said no evidence had been presented at trial to show Dawson’s whereabouts on that night.  

The trial heard Chris Dawson's motive for murdering Lynette was the fact he was 'besotted' with JC, the schoolgirl babysitter who became his second wife and testified at his trial about his controlling behaviour

The trial heard Chris Dawson’s motive for murdering Lynette was the fact he was ‘besotted’ with JC, the schoolgirl babysitter who became his second wife and testified at his trial about his controlling behaviour

Chris Dawson was initially taken to Silverwater prison (above, arriving ten weeks ago) but was transferred to another jail where he has also after received death threats from inmates

Chris Dawson was initially taken to Silverwater prison (above, arriving ten weeks ago) but was transferred to another jail where he has also after received death threats from inmates

Judge’s reasons for finding Dawson guilty 

In August, Justice Harrison found Dawson guilty after reading a four-and-a-half hour judgment, bringing to a close a mystery that has haunted Lynette’s family and Sydney’s northern beaches for four decades.

His Honour said Dawson was motivated by his obsessive infatuation with schoolgirl babysitter JC, with the fear of losing her and clearing the impediment that his wife Lyn represented, as well as not losing hold of his assets as would happen in a divorce. 

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. 

‘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.

Mr Simms said after the verdict that 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.

‘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.’

The family of Lynette Dawson still wants to know where her body is and since the August 30 guilty verdict of Chris Dawson, they still hold out hopes of her remains being found

The family of Lynette Dawson still wants to know where her body is and since the August 30 guilty verdict of Chris Dawson, they still hold out hopes of her remains being found

Despite finding that he was not satisfied Dawson ’caused any of the bruising on Lynette’ or that he ‘was physically violent towards her’, Justice Harrison found him guilty of murder.

He was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Lynette is dead, that she has not been seen or heard since on or around January 8, 1982 and that she did not leave her home voluntarily.

He was also satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Dawson ‘had a possessive infatuation with’ the schoolgirl babysitter, JC. 

Reading through his written reasons for his verdict, Justice Harrison described some of the evidence in Dawson’s defence during the trial as ‘fanciful, absurd and lies’. 

‘I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt Lynette Dawson never telephoned Christopher Dawson after 8 January 1982 and … that she did not leave her home voluntarily,’ Justice Harrison said. 

Dawson was described during a summary of the crown case by His Honour as ‘an unfaithful and violent man’.  

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.

November 10 – In sentencing submissions for Dawson, an emotional Shanelle Dawson, the killer’s eldest daughter, told her father he ‘had no right’ to kill her mother. 

December 2 – Justice Ian Harrison delivers Dawson’s prison sentence, meaning he will likely die in jail. 

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

By Australian Associated Press 

Justice Ian Harrison has sentenced Dawson after finding it was beyond reasonable doubt that Lynette Dawson (above on their wedding day) did not leave her home in Bayview voluntarily

Justice Ian Harrison has sentenced Dawson after finding it was beyond reasonable doubt that Lynette Dawson (above on their wedding day) did not leave her home in Bayview voluntarily

Lynette Dawson with Chris in the early years of their romance when she had fallen in love with the football star and they planned a life together which would be cut short in 1982

Lynette Dawson with Chris in the early years of their romance when she had fallen in love with the football star and they planned a life together which would be cut short in 1982

 

 



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