The football star ex-husband of Lynette Dawson has been arrested and is expected to be charged with her 1982 murder.
Chris Dawson, 70, was arrested by police at the home of his brother Paul, at Biggera Waters on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, early on Wednesday morning.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said the arrest came after two people came forward and provided statements regarding Ms Dawson’s death in April.
Mrs Dawson, a mother-of-two, disappeared without a trace from the couple’s family home at Bayview, on Sydney’s northern beaches, on January 9, 1982.
But it wasn’t until six weeks later that Dawson called police to report his wife missing.
Dawson has always denied any involvement in his wife’s disappearance, despite two coroners finding his wife was likely murdered by him.
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Chris Dawson (left) has been arrested and is reportedly set to be charged with the murder of his wife Lynette (right) on Sydney’s northern beaches in 1982
Mrs Dawson (pictured) disappeared from the couple’s family home at Bayview, on Sydney’s northern beaches, in 1982
Chris Dawson (pictured), 70, was arrested by police at the home of his brother Paul, at Biggera Waters on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, early on Wednesday morning
The recent dig at the family’s former home on the Northern Beaches did not provide any further evidence, but police have not given up hope of finding Mrs Dawson’s body.
‘I’ve said from the start what is important is justice for Lynette Dawson and her family,’ Commissioner Fuller said.
‘Unfortunately, and from our perspective, we would like to have found the body of Lynette Dawson, not just for evidence but for the family, and we certainly will not give up hope.
‘We have solved homicides before without identifying the body. In this case we will not give up on trying to identify the whereabouts of Lynette Dawson, but from our perspective, it is not crucial to finalising the matter.’
Chris Dawson ‘came quietly with police’ as he was arrested, and now faces extradition to Sydney, Commissioner Fuller said.
‘We spoke to the family of Lynette Dawson this morning who were certainly relieved to hear this result,’ he said.
Chris Dawson’s older brother Peter said his family was ‘disappointed’ at the decision to arrest him ‘as there is clear and uncontested evidence that Lyn Dawson was alive long after she left Chris and their daughters’, he said in a statement.
‘We have no doubt whatsoever that Chris will be found not guilty as he is innocent. There will be no further comment. Please respect the privacy of Chris and his family.’
Prior to his wife’s disappearance, Chris Dawson and his twin brother Paul had been star players for the Newtown Jets rugby league club.
Queensland Police confirmed they had made an arrest and expect that Dawson will be eventually extradited to New South Wales.
‘A 70 year old man has been arrested this morning shortly before 8 o’clock in relation to the murder of Lyn Dawson,’ confirmed Detective Chief Inspector Chris Olen.
‘He’s been taken to Southport where he will be charged. NSW police will seek an extradition.’
Team Dawson: Chris (left) and Paul (right) Dawson are now 70 years old and living in Queensland. The brothers have numberplates ‘TWIN 1’ and ‘TWIN 2’. Note Chris’s T-shirt
Lynette’s brother Gregg Simms told The Australian he was ‘quite emotional’ after his family was told the news of Dawson’s arrest.
‘We’ve had a cry, we’ve cuddled, we’re just completely over the moon that something has finally happened,’ Mr Simms said.
Just days after his wife’s disappearance, Dawson – a high school PE teacher – had his former student Joanne Curtis move into their family home.
The pair soon began a relationship and eventually married. The couple’s lasted until 1990 and the had one child together, a daughter Kristen.
At two separate inquests in 2001 and 2003 coroners find Mrs Dawson was murdered by a ‘known person’ – Chris Dawson – but he was never charged with any offence
But despite the multiple inquests, police investigations and the offer of a $100,000 reward for information, Mrs Dawson’s body has never been recovered.
Mr Dawson, 70, a schoolteacher, was having an affair with 17-year-old former student Joanne Curtis and is accused of killing his wife to move on with her. She took up the role of mother to Mr Dawson’s children Shanelle and Sherryn after Ms Dawson disappeared
Just days after his wife’s disappearance, Dawson – a high school PE teacher – had his former student Joanne Curtis (pictured right) move into their family home. The pair later married and had one child, a daughter Kristen (left)
Two coroners have recommended charging Dawson with his wife’s murder but the DPP never pursued the case, citing insufficient evidence.
NSW Police established a strike force and gave prosecutors a new brief of evidence for a fresh assessment on the case.
In September police also dug up the backyard of the house where the couple lived in 1982, but didn’t find a body.
The disappearance of Mrs Dawson has been the subject of a popular podcast by the Australian newspaper called ‘The Teacher’s Pet’.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller (pictured) said the arrest came after two people came forward and provided statements regarding Ms Dawson’s death
In August 1982, Mr Dawson wrote a statement to police detailing their marital history and the steps he took to find Ms Dawson after she vanished
Chris Dawson met Lynette Simms when he was at Sydney Boys High and she was at the adjacent Sydney Girls High. Two coroners have found Mr Dawson most likely killed his wife in 1982 but the Director of Public Prosecutions declined to prosecute, citing lack of evidence
WHAT HAPPENED TO MOTHER-OF-TWO LYNETTE JOY DAWSON?
1970: Lynette Joy Simms marries footballer Christopher Michael Dawson. They are both 21 and later have two daughters, first Shanelle and then Sherryn
1980: Mr Dawson, who retired from playing rugby league to become a PE teacher, starts affair with 16-year-old pupil Joanne Curtis at Cromer High School on Sydney’s northern beaches
1981: Mr Dawson persuades Mrs Dawson to let Joanne move in to their home to get away from her violent stepfather and finish her Higher School Certificate
December 1981: Mr Dawson and his young lover run away together to Queensland but Ms Curtis changes her mind and they return to Sydney
January 8, 1982: Mrs and Mrs Dawson go to marriage counselling. Mrs Dawson’s mother speaks to her daughter, who is not a big drinker, on the telephone and thinks she sounds ‘sozzled’.
January 9, 1982: Mr Dawson says he dropped his wife at a Mona Vale bus stop so she could go shopping at Chatswood. Mrs Dawson fails to turn up to meet her mother, husband and children at Northbridge Baths. Mr Dawson says his wife rang him and said she needed some time to herself
January 10 or 11, 1982: Mr Dawson picks up Joanne from South West Rocks on the mid north coast of NSW and she moves into his home. He reports his wife missing six weeks later.
1983-85: Mr Dawson divorces his missing wife and marries Joanne. The newlyweds move to Queensland where Joanne has the couple’s daughter Kristen
1990: Mr Dawson and Joanne split up. She moves back to Sydney and urges police to search his old garden for a body
2000: Mrs Dawson’s pink cardigan is found during a police dig on the family’s former property at Bayview
2001 and 2003: Two coroners find that Mrs Dawson was murdered by a ‘known person’ – Chris Dawson – but he is not charged with any offence
2006: An episode of the British TV series Antiques Roadshow is filmed in Padstow, Cornwall. Mr Dawson later claims a woman seen in the background of the episode could be his missing wife
2018: Police prepare another brief for the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions. The Australian launches its podcast, The Teacher’s Pet, about the case
December 5, 2018: Queensland Police arrest Chris Dawson at the home of his twin brother. He is expected to be extradited to NSW and charged with Lyn’s murder.