Chris Dawson: Police arrest husband of missing woman after true-crime podcast brings cold case back to life

'We've always been determined to find the truth and that's the reason why we’ve fought to keep Lyn’s name alive'

Chiara Giordano
Wednesday 05 December 2018 13:33
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A 70-year-old man is arrested in Queensland on 5 December, 2018, on behalf of New South Wales detectives investigating the 1982 disappearance of mother-of-two Lynette Dawson from Sydney, Australia.
A 70-year-old man is arrested in Queensland on 5 December, 2018, on behalf of New South Wales detectives investigating the 1982 disappearance of mother-of-two Lynette Dawson from Sydney, Australia.

The husband of a woman who vanished without a trace 36 years ago, has been arrested by police in Australia.

Lynette Dawson, 33, has not been seen or heard from since 8 January, 1982, after disappearing from her home in Sydney.

Her husband Chris Dawson, 70, who has always denied having anything to do with the mother-of-two's disappearance, reported her missing a month later.

He has always insisted that she had abandoned the family for a religious sect.

However, two inquests found she had been killed by a "known person" even though her body has never been found.

Ms Dawson’s disappearance attracted international attention after the launch of The Teacher’s Pet podcast by The Australian newspaper earlier this year.

In 2015 the Strike Force Scriven unit was set up to reinvestigate the cold case and this April detectives asked the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to review their evidence.

Police began digging at the Dawson’s former home in Bayview - a suburb of Sydney’s Northern Beaches - in September this year, but no remains or items of interest were found.

Mr Dawson was arrested in Queensland and police say he will be extradited to Sydney.

Chris Dawson
Lyn Dawson with one of her daughters

Mr Dawson's family said they had no doubt he would be found innocent.

“We are disappointed at the decision of the DPP as there is clear and uncontested evidence that Lyn Dawson was alive long after she left Chris and their daughters,” they said in a statement. “We have no doubt whatsoever that Chris will be found not guilty as he is innocent.”

Ms Dawson's brother, Greg Simms, told Nine News he and his wife grabbed each other and cried when they were told of the arrest.

“We've always been determined to find the truth and that's the reason why we’ve fought to keep Lyn’s name alive,” he said.

Homicide Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Scott Cook praised the work of Strike Force Scriven investigators.

“A team of dedicated detectives has been investigating this case over the past three years,” he said. “The resolve of the Unsolved Homicide Unit detectives shows that they will continue to search for the truth, no matter how many years may pass.”

A 2003 inquest found Mr Dawson, a PE teacher and former professional rugby player, had been involved in sexual relationships with teenage students.

One 16-year-old girl moved in with him just days after his wife’s disappearance.

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