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

Dawson ‘killed wife the night she went missing’

Chris Dawson will spend at least a week behind bars after deciding not to apply for bail today in Sydney's Central Local Court.

The 70-year-old appeared via videolink after being charged by homicide detectives with the murder of his first wife Lynette in 1982 when the couple lived at Bayview on Sydney's northern beaches.

Police have alleged that he murdered Lynette, 33, a former nurse, on the night she went missing.

Chris Dawson will spend at least a week behind bars. Photographer: Adam Yip
Chris Dawson will spend at least a week behind bars. Photographer: Adam Yip

He is charged with murdering her between 9pm on January 8, 1982 and 7am on January 9, 1982.

Dawson's lawyer, Greg Walsh, told the court that his client would be applying for bail next Friday, December 14.

The case was heard despite an apparent mix-up by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. The barrister briefed to prosecute the case was at Parramatta - while the case was in the centre of Sydney.

Chris Dawson has been charged with the murder of his wife Lynette. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts
Chris Dawson has been charged with the murder of his wife Lynette. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

None of the members of either Lynette's family or Dawson's family attended court.

Magistrate Robert Williams formally refused bail and adjourned the case until December 14.

Outside court, Mr Walsh said his instructions were that Dawson would be pleading not guilty and "strongly asserts his innocence".

Mr Walsh was hired late on Wednesday evening by Dawson's older brother Peter Dawson, a former barrister who now practises as a solicitor.

Mr Walsh said it was a very complicated case and he wanted to be properly prepared when he applied for bail. He said he believed Dawson had a good basis to seek conditional bail.

There is a presumption against bail on murder charges.

Lawyer Greg Walsh says that Chris Dawson plans to plead not guilty. Picture: AAP Image/Joel Carrett
Lawyer Greg Walsh says that Chris Dawson plans to plead not guilty. Picture: AAP Image/Joel Carrett

Mr Walsh said he had not listened to The Australian newspapers Teacher's Pet podcast but he was concerned about the publicity that came from an "ideological" view that Dawson was guilty.

"That is not right," Mr Walsh said.

"I would ask everybody to let the court do it's work."

Dawson was formally charged with the murder this morning.

Dawson arrived in Sydney this morning after his extradition flight from the Gold Coast.

Throughout the flight Dawson remained stone faced, showing little emotion.

He looked out the window for the majority of the trip.

Chris Dawson arrived in Sydney this morning after being extradited. Picture: John Grainger
Chris Dawson arrived in Sydney this morning after being extradited. Picture: John Grainger


He ate the standard breakfast tart that was served to all passengers on the flight.

Once the plane landed, Dawson and his accompanying agents were the last to depart.

Qantas staff ushered lingering passengers off the plane and through the walkway that led directly to the Sydney arrivals terminal.

Agents in front of and beside Dawson stood up to block vision of the 70-year-old.

He continued to stare out the window, expressionless.

He walked freely, not handcuffed or handled by police.

Dressed in a dark shirt, blue shorts and thongs, the 70-year-old was led down a flight of stairs by two detectives into a blue sedan waiting for him on the tarmac.

Dawson was driven straight to Sydney Police Centre in Surry Hills, where he was charged with murder.

The 70-year-old was arrested on a warrant and hauled before a Queensland court yesterday, almost four decades after his wife was last seen alive. Mrs Dawson was 33 when she went missing in January 1982, leaving behind two young daughters.

Lynette Dawson went missing almost 40 years ago.
Lynette Dawson went missing almost 40 years ago.


Her absence was not reported until the following month.

Dawson, a former Newtown Jets rugby league player, has long denied involvement in her death after The Australian's podcast The Teacher's Pet thrust the case back into the public spotlight.

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.

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


Despite the fact Ms Dawson's body has not been found, investigators are confident of 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," NSW Detective Superintendent Scott Cook told reporters on Wednesday.

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.

Chris Dawson on his flight to Sydney from Queensland. Picture: Seven News
Chris Dawson on his flight to Sydney from Queensland. Picture: Seven News
Chris Dawson steps off the plane after landing in Sydney. Picture: John Grainger
Chris Dawson steps off the plane after landing in Sydney. Picture: John Grainger
Chris Dawson at Sydney Airport this morning. Picture: John Grainger
Chris Dawson at Sydney Airport this morning. Picture: John Grainger


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