Chris Dawson: Husband in podcast-famous case jailed for murder

Chris Dawson
Dawson's lawyers tried to halt the trial altogether, arguing the podcast series had contaminated his chances at a fair trial. (Image: ABC News)

An Australian man who became the subject of a popular crime podcast has been jailed for 24 years for his wife’s murder.

Chris Dawson, 74, was convicted in August after decades of speculation about Lynette Dawson’s 1982 disappearance.

A judge ruled Dawson killed his wife so he could continue his relationship with his teenage lover and babysitter.

His lawyer has indicated he is likely to appeal against the conviction.

Lynette Dawson
Lynette Dawson’s body has never been found


Mrs Dawson was 33 when she vanished from her Sydney home. Her body is still missing and all the evidence in the trial was circumstantial.

In his sentencing remarks on Friday, Justice Ian Harrison said Dawson’s crime was “self-indulgent brutality” that “was neither spontaneous nor unavoidable”.

Justice Harrison said Dawson would be eligible for parole after 18 years, acknowledging it was likely he would die in prison.

Dawson was charged in 2018 after the podcast The Teacher’s Pet – by The Australian newspaper – garnered global attention and prompted a renewed investigation, helping build enough evidence to lay charges.

During the trial Dawson had denied having anything to do with his wife’s disappearance, maintaining she had abandoned him and their two children – possibly to join a religious group.

Justice Harrison said in August that the evidence against Dawson was “persuasive and compelling”, finding Dawson was obsessed with his teenage lover – who is known as JC for legal reasons. She was also a student at the school where Dawson taught and he wanted her as a “replacement” for his wife, the judge said.

The judge said Dawson had become increasingly desperate as previous plans to leave his marriage failed and JC had wanted to end their relationship.

In an earlier hearing, Dawson’s daughter Shanelle Dawson begged him to reveal the location of her mother’s body, saying: “Please tell us where she is.”

Ms Dawson was just four when her mother disappeared.

“The night you removed our mother from our lives was the night you destroyed my sense of safety and belonging in this world for many decades to come,” she said. “Why didn’t you just divorce her, let those who love and needed her keep her?”

Speaking after the sentencing, the victim’s brother Greg Simms said: “We really didn’t believe this day would ever come. What we need now is to find Lyn and put her to rest.”

When asked by reporters whether Dawson would now reveal her body’s whereabouts, his lawyer Greg Walsh said his client maintained his innocence.

In October this year, the New South Wales government passed laws to make it impossible for convicted murderers to be released on parole if they refused to co-operate and reveal the location of victims’ remains.


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