News State NSW News Witness says Dawson asked how to kill wife

Witness says Dawson asked how to kill wife

Chris Dawson
Chris Dawson was heard saying the family should launch a class action over the harassment. Photo: AAP
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On a crowded flight from the Gold Coast in 1975, Christopher Michael Dawson asked one of his fellow rugby league players whether he knew someone who could get rid of his wife, a court has heard.

Giving evidence at Dawson’s murder trial on Thursday, Robert Charles Silkman said the conversation occurred after the Newtown Jets team had been on a short holiday on the Gold Coast.

“I was sitting there and it was Chris that came along and kneeled down to my level where I was sitting and asked me did I know anyone who could get rid of his wife,” he told the NSW Supreme Court.

After Dawson allegedly confirmed he meant getting rid of Lynette Dawson “for good”, Silkman said the pair would talk when they arrived in Sydney. The topic was not brought up again, he said.

Dawson, now 73, is accused of murdering his wife Lynette Dawson and disposing of her body in January 1982 so he could have an unfettered relationship with a woman, known as JC, who was his babysitter and a former high school student.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charge and denies any involvement in Mrs Dawson’s disappearance.

Silkman claimed the discussion occurred after the Gold Coast holiday when the league players watched Muhammad Ali fight Joe Frazier in the fight billed as the Thrilla in Manila.

He admitted he had met notorious Australian criminal Neddy Smith at a hotel in 1975, but denied having any other type of association with him.

Dawson’s barrister Pauline David raised questions about the credibility of Silkman’s evidence. Not only had Silkman used many aliases during his life, but he had been convicted for arson in 1993 and petty theft multiple times during the 1970s, the court heard.

Silkman denied burning down the home for insurance fraud, saying he had done it because his friend who owned the property owed him money.

The convicted criminal had a “loose relationship with the truth,” Ms David said.

“If you see a dollar in it, you will tell a lie,” she put to Silkman.

“That’s not correct,” he said.

Silkman is the second Crown witness to claim Dawson wanted to get rid of his wife before her disappearance. Last month, JC gave evidence of a car ride in 1980 or 1981 where Dawson allegedly tried to hire a hit-man but changed his mind.

The judge-alone hearing continues.