BREAKING: Chris Dawson found guilty of murdering wife Lynette over 40 years ago

Chris Dawson, the subject of The Teacher's Pet podcast, was found guilty of murdering his wife and disposing of her body over 40 years ago.
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Chris Dawson, a former Sydney school teacher, has been found guilty of murdering his wife Lynette and disposing of her body more than 40 years ago.

WATCH BELOW: Chris Dawson faces court over murder charges

Throughout the 10-week trial that came to a close on Tuesday, 74-year-old Dawson pleaded not guilty to the murder of his wife and mother of his two daughters after she disappeared from their Bayview home on Sydney’s northern beaches in 1982.

However, Justice Ian Harrison has today found him guilty in a lengthy hearing which lasted more than five hours, after accepting the Crown prosecution’s argument he killed his wife and disposed of her body so he could run off and start a new life with his student and his family’s babysitter, JC.

The judge stated that it was likely Dawson had murdered Lynette in January 1982, just weeks after he had attempted to flee to Queensland with JC.

Justice Harrison added Dawson had told lies to create “an impression that was inconsistent with him having anything to do with the disappearance of his wife”.

“I’m fortified in my ultimate conclusion in this trial by the lies Mr Dawson told following Lynette Dawson’s disappearance that context is only explicable demonstrating a guilty conscience referable to the death of Lynette Dawson,” Justice Harrison said.

Despite witnesses claiming that they had spotted Lynette over the years, the judge agreed with the prosecution that the sightings were either unreliable or cases of mistaken identity.

Chris Dawson will face trial. (Credit: Getty)

Lynette Dawson, the mother of two who vanished from Sydney’s Northern Beaches in January 1982, was the subject of a popular podcast, The Teacher’s Pet, helmed by reporter Hedley Thomas. The podcast had been removed amid the court proceedings.

Dawson, who played for the Newtown Jets rugby league team, was adamant she ran away – despite Lynette having never been found or contacting her daughters, family, or friends since her disappearance. 

When Dawson was first arrested in December 2018, officers said he was “a bit taken aback”.

His legal team had previously worked on an application for a permanent stay of proceedings to stop a trial going ahead.

The application cited that extensive pre-trial publicity, including a podcast, would make a trial “irredeemably unfair”.

Lynette Dawson has been missing since 1982. (Credit: Supplied)

It also said the passage of time between Lynette’s alleged murder in January 1982 and his trial also rendered any trial necessarily unfair.

However, the Supreme Court judge ordered Dawson should stand trial and that decision was upheld earlier this month by the Court of Criminal Appeal.

“The court agreed with the primary judge that the prejudice to Mr Dawson caused by the pre-trial publicity and delay in this case is very serious,” the summary read.

WATCH BELOW: Lawyer for Chris Dawson, Greg Walsh speaks outside court. Post continues after video…

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“However, it also held that such prejudice to Mr Dawson is able to be remedied or sufficiently ameliorated by careful directions, which the judge at the trial will give to the jury.”

Chief Justice Bathurst said while fairness is a consideration, they also had to consider the community’s interest in bringing those charged with serious offences to trial.

Chris Dawson will be sentenced at a later date, and it is likely he will spend the rest of his life behind bars. 

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