Author(s): Rebecca Hazel
On 9 January 1982, Lynette Dawson disappeared and has not been heard from since. She is presumed murdered.
She lived on Sydney's northern beaches, Bayview, with her husband Chris, a high school PE teacher and well-known rugby league player (Newtown Jets) and her two young daughters. For eighteen months before Lynette disappeared, Chris had been in a sexual relationship with his seventeen-year-old student Joanne Curtis. The family home of Jo Curtis had been violent and in year 11 she was kicked out of home and went to live with Lyn and Chris Dawson.When Lyn became suspicious of the relationship between Jo and Chris and demanded Jo leave, she moved 200 metres up the road to live with Chris Dawson's twin brother.
Two days after Lyn Dawson disappeared, Jo moved back into the house with Chris Dawson and his two young children. When she was 19 they married and she had a child at 20. By 25 she had escaped the relationship after coming to understand how she had been groomed and not being able to come to terms with the disappearance of Lyn Dawson. There was a police investigation into the disappearance.
In 1985, a friend of Lyn's made a complaint to the NSW Ombudsman about police inactivity, but her complaint was dismissed. Homicide detectives started investigating in 1990, but concluded they could not take it further. In the late 1990s again at the urging of a friend of Lyn Dawson, there was a second murder inquiry. Police wanted to charge Mr Dawson with his wife's murder. Two coroners found, in 2001 and 2003 that he should be charged. The NSW Director of Public Prosecutions has always maintained there was not enough evidence and Mr Dawson strenuously maintains his innocence.
In 2007, when she was working in a women's refuge Rebecca Hazel first heard about the disappearance of Lyn Dawson, from Jo Curtis who was also working there. It was some years before Rebecca decided she would write the story.
Rebecca got to know Lyn's family and the policemen, Damian Loone, who had been investigating her disappearance for nearly 20 years. She spoke to Lyn's friends and colleagues. And she spent many days with Jo Curtis picking over what she knew and what prompted her to finally leave Chris Dawson and go to the police.