The world is watching as Chris Dawson makes his way to Sydney. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled
The world is watching as Chris Dawson makes his way to Sydney. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled

New bombshells from Teacher’s Pet

As all eyes fall on the 70-year-old former Newtown Jets star and high school teacher Chris Dawson - who is expected to be charged with the murder of his wife Lyn - the podcast which started it all has revealed further bombshells on the sensational case this morning.

Lyn vanished from the family home on Sydney's northern beaches in January 1982 and, after yesterday's arrest, Mr Dawson has landed in Sydney to face murder charges over her probable murder.

Chris Dawson arrives in Sydney. Picture: John Grainger
Chris Dawson arrives in Sydney. Picture: John Grainger

 

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

In a new episode of The Australian's award-winning investigative series The Teacher's Pet police hint at further arrests unrelated to Ms Dawson's disappearance as incredible new details about Mr Dawson's court appearance and the heartbreaking impact of yesterday's shock development on those close to Lyn have been laid bare.

THERE COULD BE MORE ARRESTS

In this morning's new episode police revealed there could be further arrests after allegations of abuse of other students on the Northern Beaches high schools.

Mr Dawson was in a relationship with one of his students Joanne Curtis, 16, at the time Lyn, then aged 33, disappeared. Ms Curtis moved into the family home two days after Lyn went missing.

But none of the allegations of abuse at the school concern Mr Dawson.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller told the man behind the podcast, Hedley Thomas, a strike force is bearing down on other alleged abusers in nearby high schools at the time, including at Mr Dawson's former workplace - Cromer High School.

Joanne Curtis was just a schoolgirl when she began a relationship with Mr Dawson.
Joanne Curtis was just a schoolgirl when she began a relationship with Mr Dawson.

 

A Cromer High School staff photo in 1980 showing teacher Chris Dawson in the front row on the far right.
A Cromer High School staff photo in 1980 showing teacher Chris Dawson in the front row on the far right.

"I'm hoping that any victim that comes forward, even on historic matters, gets justice, our child abuse crime squad are looking into all of those matters," he said. "I know that people have come forward and we'll continue to investigate those matters with the same passion and vigour that we have since 2015."

Strike Force Southwood, the police investigation into allegations of abuse at Cromer High, was launched in July after former students spoke out about disturbing alleged incidents at the school after revelations aired in the The Teacher's Pet podcast.

The chilling accusations include that, in 1980, a male teacher raped a female student. Ex-students claimed their concerns were ignored by the school.

Mr Fuller said the podcast was key in bringing new evidence to light and new witnesses forward and added that yesterday's arrest was important on a "number of levels".

"It's important that people maintain confidence in the police force," he said.

MOMENT WHICH MADE DAWSON TURN RED

Journalist Charlie Peel told Thomas explosive new details about Mr Dawson's brief appearance in court yesterday.

He said it took the magistrate 20 minutes to read out the police case against the 70-year-old, but there was one moment that provoked a strong reaction from the former high school teacher.

The magistrate said there was ongoing conflict between Mr Dawson and Lyn and that Lyn was going about her normal life, preparing for a birthday party and preparing her child for school at the time of her disappearance.

Journalist Charlie Peel said Mr Dawson turned red in court when hearing part of the case against him. Picture: Richard Gosling
Journalist Charlie Peel said Mr Dawson turned red in court when hearing part of the case against him. Picture: Richard Gosling

But it was when the magistrate said Lyn didn't pick up her pay cheque and she wasn't financially viable when she vanished that Mr Dawson reacted.

"That's when Dawson went quite red and had his face resting on his hands," Peel told the podcast. "He was looking down at the ground."

In earlier episodes of the podcast, it was revealed that Mr Dawson had blamed the family's financial situation and Lyn's alleged spending for the breakdown of their marriage.

In the latest podcast episode, Mr Dawson's ­cousin Judy Brown said the Cromer High teacher took his new girlfriend Ms Curtis to a family reunion shortly after Lyn vanished.

She said she heard that Joanne would sit on Mr Dawson's lap while Lyn was at home.

'I FEEL LIKE RUNNING THROUGH THE STREETS'

In a comment piece for The Australian, Thomas described the incredible moment he heard of Mr Dawson's arrest.

"Yesterday morning, when my phone began ringing with news an arrest had been made, it was enormous relief rather than any sense of elation or celebration that washed over me," he wrote.

In the podcast this morning, he speaks to Lyn's family members and those who knew her who described their shock and disbelief at the revelation.

Ms Dawson’s friends and family have expressed utter shock at the latest developments. Picture: Justin Lloyd.
Ms Dawson’s friends and family have expressed utter shock at the latest developments. Picture: Justin Lloyd.

 

Julie Andrew said she felt ‘running through the streets’ after hearing the news. Picture: John Feder/The Australian
Julie Andrew said she felt ‘running through the streets’ after hearing the news. Picture: John Feder/The Australian

"I'm stunned, this is just the first part," Lyn's former neighbour, Julie Andrew told Thomas. "There's a long way to go, but I can't actually contain my emotions I feel like running through the streets and screaming at the top of my voice. It's something that I didn't think we'd ever get to.

"She's going to be vindicated, she didn't leave her kids and they will know that. It's a wonderful day."

WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

Once Mr Dawson is back in NSW, detectives will begin the lengthy process of charging him with murder before he is brought before a Sydney court.

Fresh statements from at least two witnesses led to Mr Dawson's arrest on the Gold Coast on Wednesday following the disappearance of his wife in early 1982.

The new evidence helped police "tie pieces of the puzzle together", Mr Fuller said.

It's believed the evidence was provided by Mr Dawson's teenage lover at the time, Joanne Curtis - who moved into the family home in Sydney's northern beaches days after Mrs Dawson disappeared - and a former student of the school he once taught in.

Mrs Dawson was 33 when she went missing in January 1982 leaving behind two young daughters. Shanelle was four when Lyn disappeared and Sherryn was two.

Mr Dawson on his flight to Sydney from Queensland after being extradited to NSW. Picture: Seven News
Mr Dawson on his flight to Sydney from Queensland after being extradited to NSW. Picture: Seven News

Detectives from the NSW homicide squad began reinvestigating her suspected murder in 2015 and sent a brief of evidence to the Director of Public Prosecutions 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," Mr Fuller said.

"Statements from witnesses helped us tie pieces of the puzzle together."

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.

However, Mr Fuller added "we certainly won't give up on that search" for Mrs Dawson's body.



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