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‘Teacher’s Pet’ subject convicted of wife’s 1982 murder after true-crime podcast sheds new light on unsolved case

'Teacher's Pet' subject convicted of wife's 1982 murder after true-crime podcast sheds new light on unsolved case
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An Australian man was convicted of murdering his wife on Tuesday true crime podcast drew widespread attention to the case in 2018.

A judge found that Christopher Dawson, a 74-year-old former high school teacher, killed his then wife Lynette Dawson in 1982.

At the time of his wife’s murder, Dawson was involved in an extramarital affair with the 16-year-old babysitter of their two daughters, aged 2 and 4 at the time. according to a 2003 lawsuit called inquiry. She was a former schoolgirl – and days after Lynette Dawson disappeared, the teenager moved in with Christopher Dawson. They married after she turned 18 and separated four years later.

Hedley Thomas, investigative reporter for The Australian Gazette described the case on his Teacher’s Favorite podcast.

TEACHER’S HOUSEHOLD PODCAST SUBJECT WHO MOVED IN WITH STUDENT WHEN WIFE DISAPPEARED ACCUSES WIFE’S 1982 MURDER.

Chris Dawson and team arrive at the Supreme Court of NSW on August 30, 2022 in Sydney, Australia.  Dawson, a former Newtown Jets rugby league player, is accused of murdering his wife Lynette and disposing of her body in January 1982. Inset: Lynette Dawson

Chris Dawson and team arrive at the Supreme Court of NSW on August 30, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. Dawson, a former Newtown Jets rugby league player, is accused of murdering his wife Lynette and disposing of her body in January 1982. Inset: Lynette Dawson
(Lisa Marie Williams/Getty Images, inset: NSW Police)

Australian court records show Dawson, a former professional rugby player turned high school teacher, requested a trial, waiving his right to a jury, citing the podcast’s large audience.

Thomas did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday afternoon – early morning local time.

The verdict was “40 years overdue”, he said write in an essay published after the verdict.

Hedley Thomas speaks to the media at the Supreme Court of NSW on August 30, 2022 in Sydney, Australia.  Former Newtown Jets rugby league player Chris Dawson was found guilty of murdering his first wife, Lynette, more than 30 years ago in January 1982, in a trial popularized by the podcast, "The teacher's favorite."

Hedley Thomas speaks to the media at the Supreme Court of NSW on August 30, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. Former Newtown Jets rugby league player Chris Dawson was found guilty of murdering his first wife, Lynette, more than 30 years ago in January 1982, in a trial made popular by The Teacher’s Pet podcast.
(Lisa Marie Williams/Getty Images)

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“It was a hopelessly one-sided spectator affair,” he wrote of the production. “Almost everyone there wanted Dawson in handcuffs before lunch.”

The podcast attracted a global audience of around 60 million and cast renewed scrutiny on the case. Australian police arrested Dawson at his home in Queensland in December 2018.

Dawson reported his wife missing in February. 18, 1982, according to the New South Wales Police. But her last known contact came more than a month earlier, when she spoke to her mother on January. 8. They made plans for lunch the next day. She didn’t show up.

Her body has not been found.

Chris Dawson arrives at the New South Wales Supreme Court in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, August.  30, 2022 Dawson was convicted of murdering his wife 40 years ago following a renewed police investigation that was sparked by a popular podcast.

Chris Dawson arrives at the New South Wales Supreme Court in Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, August. 30, 2022 Dawson was convicted of murdering his wife 40 years ago following a renewed police investigation that was sparked by a popular podcast.
(Dean Lewins/AAP Image via AP)

“All the circumstantial evidence convinces me that Lynette Dawson is dead, that she died on or about January 8, 1982, and that she did not leave her home voluntarily,” Judge Ian Harrison said in courtaccording to the Associated Press.

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He said Dawson had lied about receiving phone calls from his wife after her disappearance and called the argument that she might have run away from her family “ridiculous”.

Dawson faces up to life in prison.

Kathryn Lam of Fox News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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