MY FLIGHT WITH CHRIS DAW­SON

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - SALLY COATES [email protected]

FOR most, planes mean free­dom, ad­ven­ture and ex­cite­ment, but for Chris Daw­son, yes­ter­day’s plane ride flew him closer to a mur­der charge.

The for­mer pro­fes­sional rugby league player and phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion teacher is ac­cused of mur­der­ing his wife Lynette Daw­son in 1982 in the Syd­ney sub­urb of Bayview.

About 8am on Wed­nes­day, 37 years af­ter Lyn went miss­ing, Daw­son was ar­rested at his step­daugh­ter’s Big­gera Wa­ters home and taken to the South­port watch­house.

He was de­nied bail by Queens­land mag­is­trate Den­nis Kin­sella and his ex­tra­di­tion to Syd­ney, un­der the cus­tody of NSW de­tec­tives, was or­dered.

Yes­ter­day, Daw­son boarded a 7am Qan­tas flight from the Gold Coast to Syd­ney, where he was charged with the mur­der of his first wife, af­ter decades of claim­ing the mother of his two young daugh­ters sim­ply ran away.

Daw­son sat on the plane, in the back left seat with two de­tec­tives wear­ing suits be­side him. As pas­sen­gers boarded – many aware of ex­actly who was sit­ting in that seat – Daw­son re­mained ex­pres­sion­less, star­ing out the win­dow.

Af­ter Lynette went miss­ing in 1982, Daw­son said she had joined a re­li­gious cult in the Blue Moun­tains. He also claimed she went to the Cen­tral Coast with friends and never re­turned.

Two days af­ter Lynette dis­ap­peared, Daw­son moved 16year-old stu­dent Joanne Cur­tis into his home – and his bed.

They would soon move to the Gold Coast, wed and have a daugh­ter to­gether, Daw­son’s third.

As the flight be­gan its hourand-20-minute jour­ney to Syd­ney, Daw­son must have known what­ever hap­pens, there is dis­rup­tion ahead.

But that didn’t take away his ap­petite, as he ate a tart made with free-range eggs.

He stared out the win­dow for most of the flight, fid­dling with his phone.

The flight landed about 9.20am Syd­ney time and de­spite thoughts that per­haps his chap­er­ones would avoid more scru­tiny by dis­em­bark­ing first, they were the last on board.

Mem­bers of the me­dia and the pub­lic snapped pho­tos of him on their phones while Daw­son re­mained stony­faced, show­ing lit­tle emo­tion.

It al­most seemed he was will­ing him­self away from the sit­u­a­tion, pre­tend­ing he was else­where.

Af­ter pas­sen­gers were ush­ered off the plane, Daw­son re­mained seated and ex­pres­sion­less. He was es­corted down a set of stairs at the front of the plane and led to an un­marked blue sedan. Walk­ing un­hur­riedly and seem­ingly un­per­turbed, he sat be­hind the front pas­sen­ger seat.

This is only the be­gin­ning of what is ex­pected to be a very pub­lic case in a se­ries of events that have torn apart fam­i­lies for al­most four decades.

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