Chris Dawson, the subject of the crime podcast, was convicted of killing his wife Lynette

Suspension

Chris Dawson, an Australian man who became the subject of a popular crime podcast that investigated the 1982 disappearance of his wife Lynette Dawson, was convicted of her murder, 40 years after her disappearance.

Judge Ian Harrison delivered the ruling in the New South Wales High Court on Tuesday, after a two-month trial that spanned Australia. Judgment, based on evidence that was entirely circumstantial, It took nearly five hours to deliver.

Dawson, 74, a former teacher and rugby player, has long maintained his innocence and pleaded not guilty to his wife’s murder. He was arrested in 2018 – the same year that millions listened to the “The Teacher’s Pet” podcast, which examined the couple’s relationship and the final weeks of 33-year-old Lynette’s life.

The podcast, which made headlines around the world, won a journalism award for its revelations.Long-lost statements and new witnessesWhich prompted the Australian police to renew the search for Lynette’s body. However, Harrison noted in his ruling on Tuesday, the chain may have affected some of the evidence in the case.

Lynette disappeared from her home on the northern shores of Sydney in January 1982, leaving behind her two daughters, aged 2 and 4. And it doesn’t look like she took any of her belongings with her. Dawson said his wife chose to abandon her family.

After a lengthy examination of the evidence, Harrison said He was “convinced beyond reasonable doubt that Lynette Dawson died on or about January 8, 1982, as a result of a conscious and voluntary act committed by Mr. Dawson with intent to cause her death.”

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He said that while the evidence presented was “entirely circumstantial”, the evidence “taken as a whole is compelling and persuasive”. “When there is consideration for their combined strength, I have no doubts.”

Harrison concluded that Lynette “did not leave her home voluntarily” and told several “lies” told by Chris Dawson, including that Lynette called him several times after her disappearance, saying she needed some time away from her family, Show a “guilty conscience”.

Harrison: “To say that Lynette Dawson, a woman who is supposedly desperate to leave a relationship, would be inclined to provide phone updates on the status of her decision to leave is absurd” He said Tuesday, adding that Chris Dawson’s account of their conversation, in which she only said “she needs more time away” but did not ask for example about her children, was not compelling.

Lynette’s friends and relatives said on the first episode of the podcast that the devoted mother would never have abandoned her children, with whom she shared a special bond.

During the trial, prosecutors said Dawson had an affair with a 16-year-old student who was also the family’s babysitter, identified only as “JC” at the trial, at the time of Lynette’s disappearance. JC moved into the family home shortly after Lynette’s disappearance. Prosecutors alleged that Dawson killed his wife so he could continue his relationship with JC.

It took Dawson six weeks to report Lynette’s disappearance, and her body has never been found.

“Hopefully one day we can find our sister and put her to rest,” Lynette’s brother Greg Sims Tuesday said He also spoke out of court. Dawson called for the whereabouts of her remains to be revealed so she could finally rest.

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The podcast “The Teacher’s Pet” was not available in Australia in 2019, following Dawson’s indictment, to ensure it was given a fair hearing. Trial too Happened without a jury – at Dawson’s request – granted due to the high profile and widely publicized nature of the case.

While podcasts and documentaries about true crimes have become very popular in recent years, with some renewed interest in unsolved murder cases or new evidence being revealed, Dawson’s trial has raised questions about the impact that publicity could have on the trial.

Harrison Tuesday said That “the teacher’s pet” may have corrupted some of the evidence in the case, “and deprived some of the evidence of its usefulness.”

He also noted that critics argued that the podcast offered a “less-than-balanced view” of the issue.

in Statements out of court After Tuesday’s ruling, Said the journalist behind the podcast, Hedley Thomas His role on the podcast made him feel like he “knew” Lynette. “Her story shocked me as so unfair and unjust, I became obsessed with her,” he told reporters.

While Thomas welcomed the ruling and praised the prosecutors in the case, he noted that Dawson was able to enjoy 40 years of his life without facing “accountability” for his actions due to flaws in the system and earlier handling of the case. He said Lynette was simply treated “as a runaway mother, when circumstances were very suspicious,” adding that she was “shameful.”

Greg Walsh, Dawson’s attorneyreporters Tuesday That his client was “in shock” and “dismayed” and “definitely” will appeal the conviction.

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Mr. Dawson has always emphasizedHe is absolutely innocent of the crime for which he was convicted, and continues to do so. He will continue to assert that innocence. He will definitely resume.”

Dawson will be judged at a later date.

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