Chris Dawson charged with murder over wife's disappearance almost 40 years ago

The husband of Sydney mother Lynette Dawson, who disappeared almost 40 years ago, has been charged with her murder.

Chris Dawson, a 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.

He was refused bail to appear at Central Local Court on Thursday afternoon.

He will spend at least a week behind bars before applying for bail. The court on Thursday heard he intends to plead not guilty.

His barrister Greg Walsh told the court the matter was “quite big” and asked that a bail application be set down for December 14.

Chris Dawson is escorted by NSW Police detectives as he arrives at Sydney Police Centre at Surry Hills. Image: AAP

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.

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

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

Chris Dawson walks across the tarmac into the hands of AFP officers, who escorted him from Sydney Airport. Image: 7 News

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

Ms Dawson’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.

Mr Fuller declared “we certainly won’t give up on that search” for Ms Dawson’s remains.