Chris Dawson’s ex-teenage lover to be murder trial witness

 9news.com.au  12/6/2018 12:00:00 AM   Luke Cooper

Chris Dawson's former teenage lover and ex-student, Joanne Curtis, is set to be a key witness in a trial over the murder of his wife Lynette.

Curtis, now aged in her 50s, moved into the former PE teacher's home just two days after the 1982 disappearance of Lynette Dawson and later became his second wife.

Chris Dawson was extradited from the Gold Coast jail about 6.30am today, after being arrested yesterday, and will now face court in Parramatta.

Chris Dawson Lynette Dawson murder extradition
Chris Dawson, 70, has been extradited to New South Wales on-board a Qantas plane from the Gold Coast. (9NEWS)
181206 Chris Dawson Lynette Dawson murder extradition
Dressed in a t-shirt, shorts and thongs, Dawson was accompanied by detectives who will take him to face a murder charge in NSW. (AAP)

He boarded a Qantas flight shortly before 7am (Queensland local time) this morning, before arriving at Sydney Airport around 9.30am (AEST).

Dawson is expected to be charged with the murder, even though his ex-wife’s body has never been found.

Curtis is believed to have kept a diary as a school student and has been co-operating with homicide detectives, according to The Australian, which produced The Teachers Pet podcast about the unsolved mystery.

Chris Dawson Lynette Dawson Murder Extradition
Chris Dawson was today transported from Southport Police Station on the Gold Coast in handcuffs, to be extradited to NSW. (AAP)

Dawson, 70, was taken into police custody yesterday and was denied bail in a Gold Coast court, where he placed his hands over his ears as the magistrate read out the facts of the murder charge he is set to face.

Lyn Joy Dawson, then aged 33, vanished from her home in January, 1982, following the disintegration of her marriage to her husband, whose extra-marital affair with Curtis grew in intensity throughout 1981.

The global success of The Teacher's Pet is being credited with the pushing the police into renewing their investigation, leading to the arrest yesterday.

The podcast has been downloaded 28 million times, with 60 percent of its listeners coming from the US, Great Britain and Canada.

A spokesman for Dawson's family said they were "disappointed" by yesterday’s explosive developments, and claimed there was "clear and uncontested" evidence Lyn was alive long after she disappeared.

NSW police have stated they are comfortable with the strength of the case.

Detectives lead Chris Dawson away from a Gold Coast home this morning.
Chris Dawson was arrested yesterday on the Gold Coast, and faces charges over the murder of his wife Lynette Dawson. (Supplied)
Chris and Lynette Dawson (supplied)
Dawson, the subject of globally acclaimed podcast 'The Teacher's Pet', has always maintained innocence following Lynette's disappearance in 1982. (Supplied)

Commissioner Mick Fuller said police, who conducted several digs at the former Dawson family home in Bayview, on Sydney's northern beaches, wanted to find Lyn's body but said that it was "not crucial to finalising the matter".

"We have solved homicides before without identifying the body," Comm. Fuller said.

NSW police had amassed "an enormous amount of evidence.

"There were predominantly statements from witnesses that helped us to pieces of the puzzle is together.”

Following extensive investigations, Strike Force Scriven detectives requested the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) review their brief of evidence in April 2018.

Earlier this week, the ODPP provided advice to police, and following further inquiries, detectives applied for an arrest warrant before travelling to Queensland.

Photo of Chris and his wife Lynette Dawson, who has been missing since 1982.
Since Lynette's disappearance, Dawson claimed she had run away to life with a religious cult in a remote area of NSW. (Supplied)

Comm. Fuller said two additional witness statements had been taken since April, but would not comment on the significance of that evidence.

Mrs Dawson's niece Renee Simms said the family has been waiting for 36 years for some sort of explanation for her aunt's disappearance.

"Absolute relief. My dad was elated," she told the Today show this morning.

Ms Dawson vanished following the disintegration of her marriage to Chris, who extra-martial affair with a teenage student grew in intensity throughout 1981.
Ms Dawson vanished following the disintegration of her marriage to Chris, who extra-martial affair with a teenage student grew in intensity throughout 1981. (Supplied)
Police, who have conducted several digs at the Dawson's Bayview home in Sydney to find Lynette's body, said they have amassed 'an enormous amount of evidence'.
Police, who have conducted several digs at the Dawson's Bayview home in Sydney to find Lynette's body, said they have amassed 'an enormous amount of evidence'. (Supplied)

Dawson has always maintained his innocence, and claimed his wife had run away to live with a religious cult in remote area of NSW.

In September a team of NSW police spent several days digging areas around the former Dawson family home, including by a swimming pool, where police believed it was possible Ms Dawson had been buried.

But they found no human remains or other evidence on the property, which is surrounded by bushland.

© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2018

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