true crime

Chris Dawson will plead not guilty to the murder of his first wife Lynette.

Chris Dawson has appeared in court for the first time since he was charged with the murder of his first wife, Lynette.

The 70-year-old did not apply for bail and it was formally refused.

The court heard the former Newtown Jets player will plead not guilty.

Outside the court today, Dawson’s solicitor Greg Walsh told reporters there was evidence that Lynette “was observed by a number of people” after her 1982 disappearance.

“Unfortunately two of those people are deceased,” he said.

“One of the witnesses who died, her daughter gave evidence at the second inquest, and she said that ‘my mother told me (and) if she was here today, she’d say she saw Lyn Dawson after her disappearance’.

“Another witness also gave evidence to that effect.”

Walsh also said there was evidence of “two very important bank card transactions (made) two or three weeks after her disappearance”.

The one-time rugby league player arrived in Sydney on Thursday morning after being extradited from Queensland.

He touched down about 9.30am on a Qantas flight from the Gold Coast, where he had spent the night in a watch-house.

Dressed in a t-shirt, shorts and thongs, the 70-year-old was led off the plane by detectives and driven from the tarmac straight to Sydney Police Centre in Surry Hills, where he was charged.

Fresh statements from at least two witnesses led to Dawson’s arrest on the Gold Coast on Wednesday following the disappearance of his wife.


The new evidence helped police “tie pieces of the puzzle together,” NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said.

Some of the additional material surfaced as a result of The Australian newspaper’s investigative podcast, The Teacher’s Pet.

Lynette was 33 when she went missing in January 1982 leaving behind two young daughters.

Detectives from the NSW homicide squad began re-investigating her suspected murder in 2015 and sent a brief of evidence to the Director of Public Prosecutions in April this year.

Dawson, a Newtown rugby league player in the early 1970s, has long been a suspect in the case but denies any involvement in his wife’s disappearance.

Despite the fact Lynette’s body has not been found, investigators are confident in the strength of their case.

“There are other examples in policing history, and history of the courts, where people have been convicted of murder without a body,” NSW Detective Superintendent Scott Cook told reporters on Wednesday.

Lynette’s relatives expressed relief following the arrest, while Chris Dawson’s family said they had no doubt he would be found innocent.

Detectives in September dug up the backyard at the Bayview home the couple shared in the early 1980s but did not find her remains or items of interest.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller declared “we certainly won’t give up on that search” for Lynette’s remains.

The matter was adjourned to Friday next week. Dawson will remain behind bars until then.

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