Chilling clues that could solve 40yr murder mystery of missing mum Lyn Dawson
CLUES from a chilling true-crime podcast could finally solve a 40-year-old murder case – after fears that the trail had gone cold.
Retired teacher Chris Dawson is alleged to have murdered his wife Lynette because he wanted to be with one of his students.
The disappearance of housewife Lyn from her home in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia, in 1982 was the subject of the 2018 true-crime podcast The Teacher’s Pet.
Produced by The Australian newspaper and hosted by journalist Hedley Thomas, the podcast stunned Australia when it came out.
In December 2018, Dawson was arrested by Aussie police after the podcast and media interest helped build evidence against him in connection with his wife’s murder.
This month, his trial is taking place – but in front of just a judge, not a jury – after the alleged killer successfully argued that he wouldn’t get a fair trial before jurors.
Dawson, 73, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Lynette in Sydney’s Northern Beaches suburb in January 1982.
The former Sydney rugby league player and teacher is accused of murdering his wife and disposing of her body because he was “infatuated” with one of his students.
Opening his trial on Monday, crown prosecutor Craig Everson SC said Dawson had called his wife a “fat and ugly b****”.
He told the judge that Dawson had entered a consensual relationship with one of his students, known only as JC, and had repeatedly asked her to marry him.
Dawson allegedly tried to sell his Bayview home without his wife’s permission, briefly moving to Queensland to start a new life with JC before going back to Sydney.
Judge Ian Harrison was told Dawson considered hiring a hitman to get rid of his wife, but decided against it because “innocent people would be hurt”.
Dawson, who now lives in Queensland with his third wife, bizarrely claimed he had spotted Lyn in the background of an episode of the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow filmed in Padstow, Cornwall.
These are the chilling clues revealed in the podcast which are reported to have led to police reopening the case.
Much of the podcast The Teacher’s Pet, produced by The Australian, focuses on Chris Dawson’s relationship with his former pupil, known as JC, with whom he started a relationship when she was just 16.
Dawson moved the schoolgirl into the family home to look after his and Lyn’s two children while she was still alive.
The husband announced that his student would be living with them, which reportedly sparked a fierce row.
In an interview with police from 1998 which appears on the podcast, JC describes how Dawson allegedly took advantage of her, and how she eventually agreed to marry him after he kept hassling her.
JC started sharing Dawson’s bed just two days after Lyn disappeared.
He took six weeks to report his wife was missing, explaining her absence by suggesting she had joined a religious cult.
STUDENT ‘SEX RING’
One of the key witnesses on the podcast is a former Northern Beaches schoolgirl who kept diaries from the time she knew JC and Dawson.
That woman contacted police in the wake of the podcast.
At the nearby Time and Tide Hotel, teachers would buy their underage students drinks.
Dawson would allegedly try and separate JC from her friends and took advantage of her after she confided in him about her troubles at home.
Students at the time claimed teachers would get pupils drunk and smoke cannabis with them.
JC’s younger sister said other students would gossip and tease her about seeing her sister and Mr Dawson kissing.
She said that “everyone” had a crush on the popular sports teacher.
‘UNNERVING’ TWIN BOND
In 1975, Chris and his identical twin brother Paul Dawson appeared on an episode of the ABC program Chequerboard which was devoted to the special bond between twins.
On the programme, a professor said that some twins can become “unhealthily codependent”.
The two were sent to speech therapy between the ages of five and seven because they had developed their own private language and wouldn’t speak to other people.
A number of people had described the pair’s bond as “unnerving”.
The twins told their interviewer that one brother needed approval from the other before dating someone.
Lyn’s older brother Phil, who knew the pair through rugby, said the two would take each other’s dates out without them knowing.
Phil admitted that he thought their behaviour was “unsavoury” but didn’t tell his sister.
In the months before Lyn disappeared, friends noticed she had bruises on her arms and legs.
Lyn’s brother Greg Simms also said that she told a friend that she and Dawson had stopped having sex.
Pal Sue Strath said she came home one day and saw JC swimming naked in their pool, her bikini hanging up on the line.
Sue said she believed Lyn was “in denial” about her husband’s affair, and made excuses for his violent behaviour, making it seem as if she was to blame.
The podcast uncovered that New South Wales only treated Lyn’s disappearance as a missing-person case for the first eight years, and didn’t even search the family home.
In that time, Dawson had moved to Queensland with JC.
Finally, in 1990, detectives visited the house and spoke to the new owners, at which point they admitted the case was most likely one of foul play.
In 2000, when police eventually carried out a dig on the property, one of Lyn’s favourite cardigans, a pink one, was unearthed in the dirt under the paving.
The new owner of the house said that newer soil seemed to have been placed around the house which was rocky and almost impossible to dig through.
The podcast also found that almost all of the police documents surrounding the case had disappeared.
It is alleged that police were starstruck by the star rugby league player, and didn’t want to investigate further.
All of Lyn’s friends and relatives who spoke to the podcast described her as an incredibly loving mum who would never have left her children.
The podcast revealed that Lyn had struggled to conceive for six years and had been told she couldn’t have children.
She had surgery to try and make it easier to conceive and was trying to adopt when she discovered she was pregnant.
One friend told the podcast that Lyn’s kids “were her life,” and that if she had started a new life, “she would have taken the kids with her”.
She also left behind a number of valuables, as well as key documents which would have helped the nurse get a job.
The trial continues.