One of Australia’s longest-running cold cases has ended with the conviction of former high school teacher Chris Dawson for the murder of his wife Lynette in 1982, so he could start a new life with his then 16-year-old student.
Chris Dawson Found Guilty Of Murdering Wife Lynette
August 30, 2022
On Tuesday, Justice Ian Harrison found Dawson, 74, guilty following a three-month trial that heard evidence gathered over four decades by police investigating Lynette’s disappearance.
Dawson had long denied any allegations of wrongdoing, claiming his wife had walked out on him and their two young children when they were just two and four years old.
But suspicion hung over Dawson for many years and allegations of his role in his wife’s disappearance found a new audience with the 2018 release of the “Teacher’s Pet” podcast by Australian investigative journalist Hedley Thomas.
The podcast examined the police investigation and gathered new evidence including testimony that Dawson had been having sex with the student, known as JC, when his wife disappeared.
During the judge-only trial, multiple witnesses claimed to have seen Lynette Dawson in the years after 1982, but one by one, the judge dismissed those sightings as mistaken or false.
Harrison said that while the verdict was unsupported by direct evidence, he was satisfied by the Crown’s submission that Dawson had become infatuated with JC, to the extent that he saw no other way to be with her than to kill Lynette.
“The whole of the circumstantial evidence satisfies me that Lynette Dawson is dead, that she died on or about 8 January 1982, and that she did not voluntarily abandon her home,” Harrison said.
“I’m satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the only rational inference that the circumstances enable me to draw is that Lynette Dawson died or on about 8 January 1982 as the result of a conscious and voluntary act committed by Mr Dawson with the intention of causing her death.”
Outside the court, Dawson’s lawyer Greg Walsh told reporters his client would appeal.
“Mr Dawson has always asserted, and he still does, his absolute innocence of the crime of which he’s been convicted, and he will continue to assert that innocence,” Walsh said, according to CNN affiliate Nine News.
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