Cold case pod­cast led to ar­rest

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

An Aus­tralian whose life was laid bare in a pop­u­lar crime mys­tery pod­cast about the dis­ap­pear­ance of his wife nearly 40 years ago was charged with mur­der yes­ter­day.

Chris Daw­son, 70, a for­mer first grade rugby league player, is ac­cused of the mur­der of his wife Lynette, au­thor­i­ties said.

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 re­sponse.

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

Daw­son was ar­rested be­fore 8am on Wed­nes­day 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’’.

He was ex­tra­dited to Syd­ney, where he was 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 cult.

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.

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 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.

– Tele­graph Group

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