Justice at Last – Chris Dawson Trial


Aidan G (Year 12), Chief Contributor

Friday January 8, 1982, 33-year-old nurse Lynette Dawson finished talking to her mother on the phone, she was never seen or heard from again, and her body has never been found.  

Last week, on August 30th, 2022, 40 years after Lynette’s disappearance, her husband Chris Dawson, was convicted of murdering his wife, as Supreme Court Justice Harrison delivered a five-hour verdict finding Chris was guilty, beyond reasonable doubt, despite little to no physical or forensic evidence such as a body. 


Chris Dawson is a former Rugby League Footballer and high school PE teacher at a northern beaches High School. After meeting a teenage student in his PE class (the court referred to her as JC), he formed a romantic relationship with her, she subsequently moved into the Dawson family home as a ‘live-in babysitter’. Chris had a sexual relationship with JC whilst Lyn was alive, with acts often being performed when she was in the shower or not home. Chris Dawson gradually became more and more obsessed with JC, and Judge Harrison found that there was no other possible logical inference that could be made from the overwhelming circumstantial evidence other than Chris’ ‘possessive infatuation’ with JC led him to murder Lynette in order to have ‘unfettered’ access to his teen lover. Just weeks later JC moved into the Dawson family home permanently. A few years later Chris divorced Lyn and married JC.  

Lyn’s death was originally considered a ‘disappearance’ and Chris claimed that Lyn had moved out and abandoned their marriage and family, which the court found to be ‘ludicrous’, with Judge Harrison stating, “I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Lynette did not abandon her home”. Chris claimed that she had called him on the phone on January 9th, 1982, a day after her disappearance, yet this could not be verified and other supposed sightings of Lynette after her disappearance were dismissed by the judge due to their unremarkable and insubstantial nature. 

The pursuit of justice for Lyn, whilst consistently being advocated for by her family, had become cold despite two coronial inquests in the early 2000s. Fortunately, a popular true-crime podcast ‘The Teacher’s Pet’ sparked public interest on both a domestic and international level, revealing new evidence which led the police to charge Chris Dawson with the murder of his wife. 

JC, Chris Dawson’s second wife, played a pivotal role in the conviction, with her evidence being found ‘truthful and reliable’, as she revealed the horrible circumstances of her marriage where she was ‘groomed’ and treated as a ‘slave’. She additionally came forward to Lyn’s family after her separation from Chris Dawson and revealed her suspicions surrounding the circumstances of Lyn’s death. 

Despite his conviction, Dawson maintains his innocence and is likely to appeal his conviction. Lyn’s family was thankful that Lyn was finally granted some dignity yet pleaded with Chris to reveal the location of her body “She’s still missing. We still need to bring her home. We would ask Chris also to find it in himself, to allow us to bring her home for peaceful rest.” In his first few days in prison, Dawson has received ‘constant threats against his life’ but Dawson is still unsure about the length of his incarceration as his sentencing hearing has been set for November 11.