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Chris Dawson has had a chance to tell his side of the story, denying he killed his wife Lynette and insisting she vanished 40 years ago of her own accord.
Barrister Pauline David today laid out the defence case, a week after the high-profile trial got underway.
“Chris Dawson, the accused, did not kill Lynette Dawson… he may have failed Lynette Dawson as a husband but he did not kill her,” David told the Supreme Court.
The missing mother was last seen on January 9, 1982, after Dawson says he dropped her off at a Mona Vale bus stop on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
The couple planned to meet later at the Northbridge Baths but Lynette failed to show.
She phoned to say “she would not be coming to the pool and she would not be returning home”, David told Justice Ian Harrison.
Mr Dawson’s explanation for his wife’s disappearance is that she wanted out of their marriage after discovering his affair with their teenage babysitter.
He did not report Lynette missing for six weeks but posted an ad in the Daily Telegraph around the time of their 12th wedding anniversary.
It read “Lyn I love you, we all miss you. Please ring. We want you home. Chris”.
The defence has argued police failures are to blame for their client being charged, claiming the investigation was plagued by delays, lost records and a deliberate disregard by officers to follow up on reported sightings of the missing woman.
Some of the people who claim to have seen Lynette have since died.
Former Bayview resident Julie Andrew was the first witness to evidence.
“I do believe Chris Dawson murdered his wife,” she told the judge.
She recalled hearing her friend and neighbour wailing about a month before she vanished.
“I kept walking until I got to the bottom of my pool area where I could see Lyn and Chris… he was a huge man towering over her and screaming at her and she was crying… I was really frightened for her,” Andrew said.
She claims she visited Lynette, who explained the argument was over a young woman, known as JC, who was coming to live with them.
Andrew says she replied: “Lyn, you can’t have her move in here, he’s f—ing the babysitter”.
Under cross-examination she was asked why she didn’t report her concerns to police.
“To my regret and shame, I didn’t do anything about it… I was lacking experience and confidence… I didn’t have any experience with family breakdowns and domestic violence,” she explained.
Andrew rejected suggestions she was making Dawson out to be a monster after being influenced by the “Teacher’s Pet” podcast, which examined the case, and after speculation the story could be turned into a TV series.
Lynette’s sister Patricia Jenkins took the stand late this afternoon, describing her sibling as a wonderful mother, who waited so long to have her children.
Jenkins told the Supreme Court Lynette adored her husband.
She will return to the witness box tomorrow.