A friend and neighbor of the mother of two, Lynette Dawson, have told a Sydney court Lynette knew that her husband, Chris Dawson, accused of murdering her, was having sex with their babysitter.
Giving evidence in the NSW supreme court on Monday, Julie Andrew said Lynette Dawson had told her the babysitter, JC, a student at the school where her husband was teaching, was moving into the family home permanently.
Dawson, 73, a former Newtown Jets rugby league player, has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife in January 1982.
Andrew, the first witness called in the judge-alone trial, said she initially heard a “loud, crying wailing” coming from the Dawsons’ Bayview home in Sydney in late 1981 and walked over to the property where she saw Lynette Dawson backed up against the trampoline with Dawson towering over her.
She described Dawson as a huge man screaming at his crying wife.
Andrew said she thought Lynette Dawson said something like, “What are you doing to us, Chris?” as Dawson shouted at her.
She later went back to check on her friend, who she said was upset JC was moving into the house.
Andrew said on Monday, she told Lynette Dawson: “It’s your house; you can’t let her move in. He’s fucking the babysitter.”
Having first noticed JC around the house in late 1980, Andrew described her as a “vulnerable teenager” often topless at the pool.
She told the court she remembered times when JC would walk down the side of the house topless and would think: “My god, that doesn’t look too good. She’s 16; she’s his student, she’s topless.”
As crown prosecutor Craig Everson SC asked what Lynette Dawson said when told her husband was having sex with the babysitter, Andrew replied: “She accepted what I was saying was true. She’d known it. She was deluding herself into thinking things could return to the way they were between her and Chris.”
Andrew said Lynette Dawson had had such a difficult time giving birth to her two daughters that she would never have abandoned them.
She denied claims by defense barrister Pauline David that she had come to court to paint Dawson in the most monstrous way she could.
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The crown case is that Dawson killed his wife and disposed of her body because of his affair with JC.
David, in her opening address to the court on Monday, said Dawson might have failed his wife as a husband, but he did not kill her.
Dawson arranged for a notice to be published in the local newspaper a day after the couple’s wedding anniversary on 27 March 1982, which read: “Lyn, I love you. We all miss you. Please ring. We want you home.”
David said the police investigation into Lynette Dawson’s disappearance had been flawed and failed to follow up on alleged phone calls from her and sightings of her after she had supposedly been murdered.
The trial before justice Ian Harrison continues.