Dawson babysitter revealed as new witness

A former babysitter for Chris Dawson has revealed she will be one of the new witnesses set to give evidence in court over the alleged murder of his wife Lynette Dawson.

Bev McNally, of Cromer, said she was relieved to hear of Mr Dawson's arrest this morning in relation to the 1982 disappearance of his wife 36 years ago.

Chris Dawson outside his home in Coolum prior to his arrest. Picture: Lyndon Mechielsen/The Australian
Chris Dawson outside his home in Coolum prior to his arrest. Picture: Lyndon Mechielsen/The Australian

The former babysitter looked after the two young Dawson girls at the couple's Bayview home and said Mrs Dawson, who was 33 when she went missing, adored them.

She said it was a "happy day, but also a sad one".

"It feels surreal," she said. "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."

Ms McNally said she was only speaking to the older Dawson girl, Shanelle, last night and had texted her this morning following news of her father's arrest.

"She's coping. She was trying to prepare herself but nothing prepares you for this," Ms McNally said.

Lynette Dawson. Picture: ABC
Lynette Dawson. Picture: ABC

Robyn Wheeler, a vice-captain at Cromer High, who was taught by Chris Dawson, said she was ecstatic to hear of Mr Dawson's arrest.

Mr Dawson was a sports teacher at Cromer and was having an affair with pupil Joanne Curtis, which started when she was 16, when Mrs Dawson disappeared.

"I'm ecstatic," Ms Wheeler said.

"I'm looking forward to further developments."

Mr Dawson has been named twice by coroners as being likely responsible for the murder of his wife and her disappearance has been the subject of the award-winning podcast 'The Teacher's Pet'.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said the new witness statements would form part of the prosecution case. Picture: Brendan Esposito)
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said the new witness statements would form part of the prosecution case. Picture: Brendan Esposito)

He has maintained he has had nothing to do with his wife's disappearance and suspected murder.

NSW Commissioner Mick Fuller said at a press conference this morning that new witness statements would form part of the prosecution case.

When asked what new evidence had led to the arrest, Mr Fuller said statements from witnesses had "helped pull pieces of the puzzle together". These new statements came about as a result of media coverage.

NSW Police conducting a dig at the former home of Chris and Lyn (Lynette) Dawson in Bayview.
NSW Police conducting a dig at the former home of Chris and Lyn (Lynette) Dawson in Bayview.


He said Mr Dawson went "quietly" with officers to the station after his arrest. It is expected he will be extradited to NSW in the next few days.

Mr Fuller said Lynette's family was relieved to hear of this morning's arrest.

"I have said from the start what is important to me was justice for Lynette Dawson and her family," he said. "Today is an important step forward for that."

Detectives from the NSW homicide squad began reinvestigating her suspected murder in 2015, calling on the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to review their brief of evidence in April this year.

Police spent in excess of $500,000 on digging in the grounds of the couple's former Bayview home in the hope of finding her body or any new evidence, but nothing was found.

 

Bev McNally has revealed she is one of the new witnesses. Picture: James Croucher
Bev McNally has revealed she is one of the new witnesses. Picture: James Croucher


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