Podcast leads to murder charge against Australian man in 1982 cold case disappearance of his wife

SYDNEY — An Australian whose life was laid bare in a popular
crime mystery podcast about the disappearance of his wife
nearly 40 years ago was arrested Wednesday.

On Thursday, Chris Dawson, 70, a former first grade rugby
league player, was charged with the murder of his wife Lynette,
according to reports.

The body of the mother of two, who went missing in Sydney’s
northern beaches in 1982, has never been found.

Dawson denies killing his wife and says she left home to have
some time to herself.

The cold case is the subject of The Teacher’s Pet, a podcast
which details a troubled marriage leading up to the
disappearance and examines the shortcomings of the police

It was listened to by some 27 million people globally, and
appears to have helped to spur the police into action.

Police arrest Chris Dawson at a home on the Gold Coast on
Wednesday morning.
NSW Police

Dawson was arrested early Wednesday morning at a small
apartment attached to his daughter’s home in Queensland’s Gold
Coast. Police said he was “calm and a little taken aback”.

Officers were today expected to extradite him to Sydney, where
he will be charged with the murder. Lynette Dawson, who worked
as a nurse, was aged 33 when she vanished.

Two days after her disappearance, Chris Dawson’s 16-year-old
lover, Joanne Curtis, a former babysitter for the couple, moved
into the house and apparently wore the missing woman’s
jewellery and clothes.

Dawson did not report his wife missing for six weeks, and said
that he thought she might have run away to join a religious

Later, he told one of his daughters that her mother appeared to
be in the audience of a 2006 episode of the BBC television show
Antiques Roadshow – a claim strongly disputed by her family.

Calm and a little taken aback

Dawson and Curtis were married for six years and had a daughter
before divorcing. She claimed he was violent and later assisted
police with their inquiries and even suggested that they search
around the home’s swimming pool for a body.

During a search in 2000, police found a cardigan of Lynette
Dawson’s that had cuts consistent with a stabbing.

Despite these various clues, and a coroner’s finding that
Dawson should be charged with murder, police made no move to
arrest him.

The case was reopened in 2015 and was taken up by the podcast,
produced by The Australian, which then made almost daily
headlines in Australia.

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