News Arrest of Chris Dawson in Teacher’s Pet case

Arrest of Chris Dawson in Teacher’s Pet case

Chris Dawson was arrested on the Gold Coast before an appearance at Southport Magistrates Court. Photo: NSW Police
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Chris Dawson, the former husband of missing Sydney woman Lynette Dawson, will be extradited from Queensland to NSW where he is expected to be charged with her murder.

The former Newtown Jets rugby league player, who is at the centre of the popular Teacher’s Pet podcast, appeared in Southport Magistrates Court today with his head bowed, wearing a t-shirt, shorts and bare feet.

His lawyer made an application for bail, which was opposed by police.

Mr Dawson, 70, was arrested at Biggera Waters on Wednesday morning by detectives from Queensland Police Service’s Homicide Squad.

Ms Dawson disappeared from Sydney’s northern beaches on January 9, 1982. She was 33 at the time.

Chris Dawson met Lynette when they were at high school.

Her husband Chris, a former PE teacher, moved his schoolgirl lover into the family home just days after his wife went missing.

Mr Dawson told his wife’s family that she needed time away. He did not report her missing to police for almost six weeks.

He continues to maintain he had nothing to do with her disappearance.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said Ms Dawson’s family was relieved after being told of the arrest.

“I have said from the start, what is important to me was just as for Lynette Dawson and her family,” he said.

“Today is an important step forward in that.”

The podcast on the case, Teacher’s Pet, has had millions of downloads and recently won The Australian‘s Hedley Thomas and Slade Gibson a Gold Walkley.

lyn dawson murder
Lyn Dawson with husband Chris and daughters Shannelle and Sherryn. Photo: ABC

Police haven’t given up hope of finding a body

Mr Fuller said detectives had received additional evidence since asking the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to review their brief of evidence in April.

“They were predominantly statements from witnesses that helped us tie pieces of the puzzle together,” he said.

In September, police searched Ms Dawson’s former home but failed to discover any remains or items of interest.

Mr Fuller said finding Ms Dawson’s remains was “not crucial to finalising the matter”. However, investigators had not given up hope of doing so.

“We’re certainly hoping an interview with this 70-year-old man who’s currently in custody in Queensland will assist us with the outcome of where the body may be,” he said.

Police search the former Dawson family property on Sydney’s northern beaches in September. Photo: AAP

Two separate coronial investigations have been held into Ms Dawson’s disappearance.

NSW Police’s Strike Force Scriven was established in 2015 to reinvestigate the case.

An application for a warrant was lodged after Police received advice back from the DPP earlier this week.

The Commander of the NSW Homicide Squad, Detective Superintendent Scott Cook, said Mr Dawson was calm but taken aback when he was taken into custody.

He said two witness statements in particular helped piece the evidence together.

Questions had also arisen around the Dawson property, leading to the excavation, Detective Superintendent Cook added.

“We want to put beyond any doubt whether Lynette was there or not, and it was important for us in terms of prosecution to ensure that we did the dig and we put that beyond any doubt,” he said.