In the months leading up to Lynette Dawson’s disappearance
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In the months leading up to Lynette Dawson’s disappearance

In 1981, rumors, allusions, and taunts began to fly in the hallways and grounds of the Sydney North Beach School, where Chris Dawson taught.

More than 40 years later, the NSW Supreme Court heard that Mr. Dawson – a former top rugby league player turned physical education teacher – had a close relationship with a female student the previous year.

In the months leading up to Lynette Dawson's disappearance

The teen — who may only be known as JC — would later become a babysitter for Mr. Dawson and his wife, Lynette.

The court also heard that she would later move into his Bayview home as a live-in babysitter before eventually moving to the Gilwinga Drive home as his lover following Lynette’s disappearance in January 1982.

Camera IconChris and Lynette Dawson, in 1966, after meeting in high school. Delivered. Credit: News Corp AustraliaCamera IconJC, with Chris Dawson, on their wedding day in 1984. Supplied. Credit: Included

Mr. Dawson is on trial for the alleged murder of his wife Lynette, accused of killing her and dumping her body, motivated by his desire to have “free access” to the young girl.

The 73-year-old pleaded not guilty.

He argued through his lawyers that he had no reason to want to kill his wife and that there had been several sightings of her since her disappearance.

He said he drove her to a bus stop in Mona Vale on January 9, 1982, so she could go shopping, but she didn’t meet him at the Northbridge Baths as planned.

We saw this in court after the second week of the trial.

Camera IconA photo of JC the day she and Chris Dawson left in his car, seen in the background, to start a new life in Queensland. Delivered. Credit: Included


JC’s sister has told the court that she was taunted by other students in the schoolyard in 1981.

They sang her lyrics from the song Don’t Stand So Close to Me by The Police.

“It made me cringe,” JC’s sister told the court, adding that she knew they were talking about JC and Mr. Dawson.

“Young teacher, the subject of schoolgirl fantasy, she wants him so much, knows what she wants to become,” Sting sings in the song.

JC told the court that when Chris lived with the Dawsons as their live-in babysitter in 1981, Chris would mix an alcoholic drink for Lynette, wait for her to fall asleep, then have sex with him.

The court also heard JC swim topless in their backyard and walk around the pool in just a G-string.

Camera IconJC sat on the witness stand at the Supreme Court for several days. NCA NewsWire/Damian Shaw. Credit: NCA NewsWire


Judge Ian Harrison, who presides alone, has heard that JC had a difficult family life due to an alcoholic and abusive mother and stepfather.

That led to her taking up Mr. Dawson’s offer to live in Bayview while she completed her HSC.

“I guess I had nowhere else to go, and he said, ‘I’ll take care of you,’ and I needed someone to take care of me,” JC told the court shortly before Christmas 1981 when she and Mr. Dawson left for Queensland to start a new life.

But shortly into the trip, JC said, she asked Mr. Dawson to turn the car around and return to Sydney because she missed her family.

She went on holiday with friends and family in the new year at a caravan park in South West Rocks.

She said Mr. Dawson drove to the NSW Mid North Coast about January 10 or 11 to pick her up.

It is alleged that Mrs. Dawson was murdered on or about January 8.

Dawson’s attorneys dispute the timing, arguing that Dawson traveled to South West Rocks several days later.

Camera icon Chris Dawson (right) pleaded not guilty to the murder of his wife 40 years ago. NCA NewsWire/Jeremy Piper. Credit: News Corp Australia

JC has said she was taken back to Sydney, where she was “installed” into his home to cook, clean and care for his two young children.

She married Mr. Dawson in 1984 before divorcing in acrimonious circumstances in 1990.

During her testimony before the NSW Supreme Court, JC said she had been the victim of domestic violence during her marriage, including an incident where Mr. Dawson tore off a thong that she “paraded” in front of him.

JC said that Mr. Dawson got angry when he told her she could only wear the underwear he was with.

“There was an incident involving a G-string where Mr. Dawson pulled it from behind while you were scurrying around,” said Pauline David, Mr. Dawson’s attorney.

“No,” JC replied.

“There was no violence related to a G-string incident,” said Ms. David.

“There was; I was there,” said JC.

Camera icon Chris Dawson and Lynette Dawson from a Simms family photo album presented to the NSW Supreme Court. Photo: delivered. Credit: Included


A series of witnesses have also stated that they either witnessed or were told of incidents where Mr. Dawson was aggressive or violent towards Lynette before her disappearance.

Dawson’s lawyers have disputed those allegations.

Anne Grantham, who worked with Lynette at the Warriewood Children’s Center, said she saw Mr. Dawson act “aggressively” against his wife on one occasion.

“I told her Chris seemed to be aggressive, and I was surprised because she said to me, ‘He can be very aggressive with me,'” said Mrs. Grantham.

“She said he grabbed her by the back of her hair and pressed her face to the ground, on the mud.”

She added: “Lyn said she couldn’t breathe; she was gasping.”

Ms. David suggested that the incident had been told to her by someone else or that she had made it up in her head – a suggestion that was rejected by Ms. Grantham.

Camera icon Roslyn McLoughlin told the Supreme Court that she had seen bruises on Lynette Dawson’s arm and thighs before her disappearance. NCA NewsWire/Christian Gilles. Credit: News Corp Australia


Roslyn McLoughlin, who regularly played tennis with Lynette and a group of friends in Bayview, said she last saw Mrs. Dawson at a social match the week leading up to Christmas 1981.

Mrs. McLoughlin said Mrs. Dawson seemed “quite upset” on that occasion and begged her to come over for coffee at her house.

“She treated me to go back to her house after tennis for a cup of coffee,” Ms. McLoughlin said.

Mrs. McLoughlin said she declined Mrs. Dawson’s repeated invitations because it was the week before Christmas, and she had family responsibilities.

She said Mrs. Dawson was “begging” me to come to her house, and at the same time, she noticed several bruises on Lynette’s upper arms and thighs.

“She had shorts on the bottom, and they showed some bruising,” Ms. McLoughlin said.

“She probably had a big bruise the size of a grapefruit on her thigh. And I don’t know if it was both upper arms or just one, but she had bruises on her arms.”

During the cross-examination of Mrs. David, she admitted that Mrs. Dawson had not mentioned how she was bruised.

The Camera Icon, Chris Dawson trial, is expected to last a few more weeks. NCA NewsWire/Christian Gilles. Credit: News Corp Australia


A teenager at the time, known only as BM, was a student at the school where Mr. Dawson taught.

While graduating high school, she also babysat the Dawsons for several years – before JC became their nanny.

BM told the court she witnessed an incident where she saw Mr. Dawson grab Mrs. Dawson by the arm and swing her against a door frame.

“I saw Chris Dawson grab Lynette by the top of her arm and basically hurl her into the bedroom in an angry, forceful act,” BM said.

“Lynette was almost a rag doll because he was a lot bigger. When he grabbed her and waved her, she picked up the door frame with her shoulder and possibly her head.”

Camera icon Chris Dawson and Lynnette Dawson on their 1984 wedding day. Included. Credit: News Corp Australia

Ms. David suggested that BM exaggerated the stories to make herself “relevant” and claimed she was influenced by the Teacher’s Pet podcast.

BM also told the court of a separate incident in the early 1980s when she said Mr. Dawson brought his wife to tears by tapping her with a tea towel after he was angered by a dirty glass.

“I put my arm over her shoulder a little bit and realized she was crying,” BM said.

The trial continues on Monday.