Custody battle behind ‘slurs’ Chris Dawson was concerned in his first spouse’s disappearance, courtroom hears

Former Sydney teacher Chris Dawson told police in an interview that allegations he was involved in his first wife’s disappearance were part of a “nasty and bitter” custody battle, a court has heard.

Key points:

  • Chris Dawson described claims of his involvement with Lynette’s disappearance as “utter fabrication”
  • He told the police the claims were being made to slur his character before a custody case
  • A witness told the court she saw Lynette Dawson with a “huge” black eye at a Sydney shopping mall

Mr Dawson has pleaded not guilty to murder over the January 1982 disappearance of Lynette Dawson.

A video of a police interview with the former rugby league player, recorded in January 1991, which was played today to the NSW Supreme Court.

The Crown’s case is that Mr Dawson killed his wife to have an “unfettered relationship” with a student at the school where he worked, known as JC, who he later married.

During the police interview, it’s put to Mr Dawson that JC has alleged he once told her he’d gone to get a “hitman” to kill Lynette Dawson, but decided not to because “innocent people would be killed”.

“Complete and utter fabrication,” Mr Dawson replied.

Later in the interview, Mr Dawson begins to state his “concern” that many of the issues being raised by JC were “very convenient” because of the timing.

“The whole purpose of (JC) raising the allegations is to slur my character with an upcoming custody battle which has turned extremely nasty and bitter,” Mr Dawson said.

He told detectives the purpose was “fairly obvious” and said JC didn’t know of “nights that I lay awake crying my heart out hoping for some contact from Lyn”.

“When you’re living with somebody and you’re trying to sort of work on a relationship you obviously don’t tell them that you’re yearning for contact from your ex-partner or from your partner, other partner.”

The woman known as JC alleged Mr Dawson told her he’d gone to get a hitman to kill his wife Lynette.(AAP: Bianca De Marchi)

Earlier, the court heard Ms Dawson had “a huge, horrible black eye” underneath sunglasses when she and her husband ran into a former colleague in a mall, the court has heard.

Witness Judith Solomon today recalled meeting Ms Dawson at The Bank of NSW Charing Cross branch, where she worked until around 1966.

She said years later, she ran into Ms Dawson at Warringah Mall, and initially didn’t recognize her because she had shorter hair and was wearing sunglasses, which she then took off.

“I could see a huge, horrible black eye,” Ms Solomon told the court.

High school sweethearts Chris and Lynette Dawson at a high school function where they met aged 16.(supplies)

The witness said Ms Dawson introduced her to Mr Dawson.

She recalled trying to “make it not so horrible for her” and started discussing how she once had a black eye.

“I told her about my black eye and we just laughed about it,” Ms Solomon said.

“I said that I ran into a doorknob.”

“What did she tell you about her black eye?” Crown Prosecutor Craig Everson SC asked.

“She ran into a doorway,” the witness replied.

Ms Solomon said as they parted company, she saw Chris Dawson “pull her arm” and say “what did you do that for”.

Smiling woman holds a blonde baby in a blue dress with the ocean in the background. Lynette Dawson holding her five-month-old old daughter Shanelle in 1977. (supplies.)

She also recalled visiting Ms Dawson at her Bayview home and staying for about an hour before Ms Dawson told her she would need to leave because Mr Dawson would not be happy about having a visitor.

The witness could not recall exactly what year the encounters occurred, but believed it was before her third child was born in 1977.

Under cross-examination, Ms Solomon agreed she had listened to The Teacher’s Pet podcast, in which Mr Dawson was portrayed in “a very dark light”.

“Do you agree he was portrayed as a murderer?” defense barrister Pauline David asked.

“No, not really, she was missing. To me, it had to be proved,” Ms Solomon replied.

“When you cast back your mind, did you think of Mr Dawson with a new suspicion?” Ms David asked.

“Yes,” Ms Solomon replied.

But the witness insisted she was not remembering the words spoken at the mall incorrectly, despite making her police statement decades after the encounter.

“It was deep in my mind, because I was horrified,” she said.

Ms David suggested Lynette Dawson may not have had a black eye, but “some redness” around her eye.

“It wasn’t red,” Ms. Solomon said.

“It was going green, it was going across the bridge of her nose and into the other eye. It was really, really bad.”

The judge-alone trial, before Justice Ian Harrison, continues.

Posted 3h ago3 hours agoMon 30 May 2022 at 2:19am, updated 1h ago1 hours agoMon 30 May 2022 at 3:37am

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