Fresh statements from at least two witnesses have led to the arrest of Chris Dawson over the disappearance of his wife Lynette who went missing from their Sydney home almost 40 years ago.
The new evidence helped police “tie pieces of the puzzle together” before the 70-year-old was taken into custody on the Gold Coast on Wednesday.
Some 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 from Sydney’s northern beaches in January 1982 leaving behind two young daughters.
Detectives from the NSW homicide squad began reinvestigating her suspected murder in 2015, calling on the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to review their brief of evidence in April this year.
“There was additional evidence that was identified and … that has seen the DPP make a positive decision in prosecuting an individual for the murder of Lynette Dawson,” NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller told reporters in Sydney.
“They were predominantly statements from witnesses that helped us tie pieces of the puzzle together.”
Dawson, a former Newtown Jets rugby league player, has long been a suspect in the case but denies any involvement in his wife’s disappearance.
Police say he was “calm and a little bit taken aback” when arrested on Wednesday while Lyn’s family expressed relief.
The 70-year-old is expected to appear in Southport Magistrates Court where NSW Police will seek his extradition.
“We spoke to the family of Lynette Dawson this morning who were certainly relieved to hear this result and, from their perspective, they have asked for some patience in terms of their confidentiality going forward,” Mr Fuller said.
In September, police dug up the backyard at the Bayview home the couple had shared but did not find remains, or items of interest.
Detective Superintendent Scott Cook said investigators were confident in the strength of their case even though Ms Dawson’s body has not been found.
“There are other examples in policing history and history of the courts where people have been convicted of murder without a body,” he said.
Chris Dawson’s family maintain he is innocent
The Dawson family released a statement on Wednesday saying they are disappointed at the decision of the DPP.
“There is clear and uncontested evidence that Lyn Dawson was alive long after she left Chris and their daughters,” the statement said.
“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.”