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In a strange twist in the Chris Dawson murder trial, a man who has never met the former teacher has been called as the sole defence witness.
Dawson is accused of killing his wife Lynette, but today the court heard from a man named Paul Cooper, who claimed he saw the missing mother after she ran away from her unfaithful husband.

Cooper, a convicted criminal, was asked about a conversation that took place 40 years ago.

Chris Dawson leaves court
Chris Dawson leaves court. (Steven Siewert)

He said he saw a woman who looked like Lynette at a Warner’s Bay hotel in Lake Macquarie in 1982.

“She had left her husband… he had been playing up on her… I asked her was she going to go back and she said no,” Cooper told the Supreme Court on Monday.

“I said: ‘what about your children? It’s not fair to them’.

“She didn’t have any ID… she had money because she had sold something.

Lynette Dawson. (Supplied)

“She was also waiting to get a passport… she was going to go to Bali and then head off to another overseas country.”

Lynette’s family shook their heads in disbelief as Cooper gave evidence. They maintain she would never have abandoned her daughters.

Cooper claims the discussion went even further and he suspected the woman was trying to frame her husband.

“I said to her they were going to think he knocked ya… I thought she was setting her husband up.”

Crown prosecutor Craig Everson, SC
Crown prosecutor Craig Everson, SC. (Steven Siewert)

In 2018, Cooper saw photos of the missing nurse on A Current Affair which prompted him to come forward – not to police but to Dawson’s solicitor Greg Walsh.

The witness’s credibility was called into question. The court was told he’d done jail time for drugs, theft, break and enter, as well as armed robbery.

He also admitted to being a regular cannabis user in 1982.

Dawson waived his right to give evidence, leaving only closing statements in the marathon trial.

The Crown argues he murdered his wife so he could move on with the family babysitter.

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