Lynette Dawson seen alive, court told

·3-min read

Lynette Dawson was seen walking around alive and well on two separate occasions after being allegedly murdered by her husband, a court has heard.

Giving evidence at the murder trial of Christopher Michael Dawson on Friday, former neighbour Peter Breese said he saw Mrs Dawson working as a nurse at a northern beaches hospital where he went for a nose job in June 1984.

He said he saw Mrs Dawson standing three metres away from him for five to 10 seconds in a room at Rockcastle Private Hospital, now known as South Pacific Private, in the Sydney suburb of Curl Curl.

Mr Breese described a woman who looked like Mrs Dawson, wearing the same round glasses and with the same hairstyle, appearing at the door. She then span on her heels, walked away and never came back, he told the NSW Supreme Court.

"I believe it was Lynette Dawson," he said by video link from Tweed Heads Police Station.

He told the court he had been anaesthetised for the operation, and couldn't remember how long afterwards he allegedly saw Mrs Dawson. He said he was "out of it" for the first night, but got brighter as the days passed. He was also unsure of whether he had been wearing glasses at the time.

Because of illness, Ms Breese was unable to testify at the murder trial on Friday. An audio recording of evidence given by her in the Downing Centre Local Courts in February 2020 was played instead.

At the time, she claimed she had seen Mrs Dawson as a nurse at Rockcastle Hospital while visiting her husband. Mrs Dawson walked past and stood at the nurse's station, the court heard.

Ms Breese said she had seen a "side shot" of the woman, but was certain she recognised her.

From 1979 to 1984, Mr and Ms Breese lived in a property on Torumba Avenue in Bayview, Sydney, which backed onto the Dawson's home on Gilwinga Drive.

Another witness, Ray Butlin, also recounted a sighting of Mrs Dawson by his wife at a fruit stall in Kulnara, north of Sydney, some time after she allegedly disappeared.

Sue Butlin, who died in May 1998, said in a prior police statement that she was positive she saw Mrs Dawson at the fruit stall. After Mrs Butlin called out the woman's name, she hurried away, got into her car, and drove off.

A teacher and former Newtown Jets rugby league player, Dawson is accused of murdering his wife and disposing of her body in January 1982 so he could have an unfettered relationship with his former student, known as JC. The 73-year-old has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Another student at Dawson's high school, who can only be referred to as KF, said she saw Mrs Dawson with a black-eye while sitting in a car with her children outside of the school.

She admitted she did not know how Mrs Dawson got the injury, but rejected suggestions from Dawson's barrister Pauline David that the eye was merely "reddened".

Lynelle Dawson, the ex-wife of Dawson's brother Peter, also took the stand on Friday recounting how her own mother had left her family without making contact thereafter.

On October 17, 1960, Lynelle Dawson had a conversation with her mother who told her she didn't want to leave. That day, her mother moved out from their Beverly Hills home into a boarding house in Rockdale and then disappeared from their lives, she told the court.

"We always thought, 'Did mum change her name? Did she become somebody else?' Its possible. You could do it," she said.

A search of the New Zealand Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages in 2018 revealed her mother had moved there, changed her surname, married twice and died in 2002.

"On her death certificate, there's no children, there's no children, so that speaks for itself what a person can do," Ms Dawson said.

The trial continues on Tuesday.

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