Chris Dawson’s schoolgirl lover and another ex-student were reportedly key witnesses who provided police with information which led to his Gold Coast arrest, 37 years after his wife Lynette Dawson disappeared.
Joanne Curtis moved into the family’s Bayview home two days after Mrs Dawson disappeared in 1982 – but it’s now been revealed she is one of two witnesses to provide fresh statements ultimately leading to the 70-year-old’s arrest and subsequent extradition back to NSW, The Australian reports.
The publication reports that another ex-student has also come forward as a witness, revealing she kept a diary about her schooldays on Sydney’s northern beaches.
Dawson, a one-time Rugby League player for the Newtown Jets, became the subject of hit podcast The Teacher’s Pet. His Qantas flight from the Gold Coast touched down in Sydney just after 9:30am Thursday morning, with AFP officers waiting for him on the tarmac.
The Dawsons’ former babysitter, Bev McNally, said she felt relieved over his arrest.
“It feels surreal,” Ms McNally told the Manly Daily.
“It is a happy day and a sad one. People have to remember that as well… His daughters have had their world re-shattered. We have to feel for them too.”
Detectives from the NSW homicide squad said the witness statements “helped us tie pieces of the puzzle together”.
Chris Dawson sitting back row of plane, under extradition to Sydney… will likely face court this afternoon pic.twitter.com/esAFWOpSBt
— Chris Reason (@ChrisReason7) December 5, 2018
“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 said.
Despite the fact Mrs Dawson’s body has not been found, NSW Detective Superintendent Scott Cook says investigators are confident in the strength of their case.
“There are other examples in policing history and history of the courts where people have been convicted of murder without a body,” he told reporters.
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 Mrs Dawson’s remains.
Relief for Lynette Dawson’s family
Mrs Dawson was 33 when she went missing in January 1982 leaving behind two young daughters.
Her brother, Greg Simms, said he was very emotional when told of Dawson’s arrest.
“I’m the happiest man alive today, and if Lynette is up there looking down, she’d be smiling at us,” he told News Corp Australia.
Mrs Dawson’s niece Renee Simms said the family has been waiting for 36 years for some sort of explanation for her aunt’s disappearance.
‘Chris will be found not guilty’: Family says
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.”