The former schoolgirl who swam in the pool at Lynette and Chris Dawson’s marital home has admitted at his murder trial she was caught by his wife sitting on his lap in the months before she disappeared.
The woman, known as JC, has also told the court how two years later she married Dawson wearing a ring made from his allegedly murdered wife’s diamond engagement and eternity rings.
Lynette, who shared two daughters with the former rugby player and lived in Bayview on Sydney‘s Northern Beaches, has been missing since 1982, with her husband now on trial for her alleged murder and disposing of her body.
Her husband says he last saw his wife at Mona Vale bus station on January 9 of that year, but her body has never been found and neither family, friends or her children have ever heard from her.
JC, who was a teenager at the time, was asked under re-examination on Monday by crown prosecutor Craig Everson SC about a photograph from her wedding day, particularly about what she wore on her left arm and hand.
She said she wore ‘a sterling silver bangle’ on her left hand, and on the wedding finger of her left hand she wore ‘an engagement ring and a wedding ring I got that day’.
JC, third left on her wedding day, claimed Chris Dawson, third right, his twin Paul and his wife Marilyn, left, had plotted to forge allegedly murdered Lyn Dawson’s signature on an insurance policy
”The wedding ring was made .. to match one he had left over from his first marriage. The diamond ring was made using Lynne’s engagement ring and the eternity ring she left,’ JC explained.
Under cross-examination by Dawson’s barrister Pauline David the onetime schoolgirl, who is now in her late 50s, agreed that Lyn Dawson had caught her sitting on Chris Dawson’s lap one day.
It was during a musical chairs style game called Stacks on the Mill, ‘where the chair is a person and when the music stops, you sit on the nearest person’, JC said.
Asked if on one occasion ‘you were sitting on Chris Dawson’s lap and Lyn Dawson came in … and Lyn Dawson was upset about you sitting on Chris Dawson’s lap’, JC agreed.
‘Yes, we were playing with the two children and Lyn walked in,’ JC said.
Asked about the time Lyn confronted JC and ‘asked you whether you were having a relationship with her husband (and JC) admitted that it was true’, she agreed saying, ‘Okay I wouldn’t have lied to her’.
JC defiantly resisted Ms David’s suggestions she was lying about being ‘installed’ by Chris Dawson as a full-time housewife to replace the wife he allegedly killed just two days before.
She also resisted Ms David’s suggestions that she had lied about a conversation Chris Dawson had with JC after taking her in her school uniform to a hotel where he allegedly tried to hire a hit man ‘to kill Lyn’, but decided against it.
The Dawson home where JC said she heard a plot to forge Lyn Dawson’s signature on an insurance policy and the swimming pool where she swam topless in the year she was babysitting Lyn’s daughters
Dawson, 73, is standing trial in the NSW Supreme Court accused of murdering his wife, who disappeared aged 33.
The Crown claims that then-high school teacher Chris Dawson killed Lynette and disposed of her body because of his affair with JC, who was one one of his PE students.
Dawson’s legal team has argued that while he may have failed his wife as a husband, he did not kill her.
Ms David argued that JC did not go to live at Dawson home at North Bayview in Sydney’s Northern Beaches until mid-January rather than between January 10 and 12, just days after Lynette was last in contact with her family.
‘I suggest to you, you have brought the date back down to deliberately mislead the court?’ Ms David said, to which JC answered a firm, ‘no’.
Ms David said JC had cited in all but her first police statement an ‘earlier date because it accords with the theory that Lynette Dawson left the home and you were installed straight away’, which JC said no, the earlier date ‘is the truth’.
‘I moved straight back into his place. He came to get me to install me into his place to take care of his children and do all the cooking an cleaning because he said his wife was not coming back
‘He installed me as soon as he came to pick me up. He drove me back to his home and that was that.’
With answers varying from an indignant ,’no, to ‘that’s a lie’ and ‘absolutely not’, JC rejected Ms David’s assertions that she hade made up evidence she had given to police.
Chris Dawson’s layer accused JC (above) of telling ‘vicious lies’ to destroy him and his family, including what the barrister said was an untrue allegation about an insurance policy forgery
This included JC’s account of Dawson driving to a hotel and saying afterwards, ‘I went to get a hit man to kill Lyn, but I decided I couldn’t’ do it because I knew innocent people would be killed’.
JC insisted this had ‘absolutely’ happened, as well as her account that Dawson had consulted his solicitor brother Peter about selling the family home Lynette and he shared.
JC also said that Dawson addressed a card to the schoolgirl while Lynette was alive ascribing her the surname ‘D’ for Dawson.
Ms David also asked JC about ‘love’ letters he had sent her after she left their marriage in 1990, trying to get her to come back to him.
JC said of the letters they were from ‘a desperate man that has lost something he fought so hard to have ….. trying to entice me back with lies’.
She said Dawson’s assertions she was returning with her daughter Kirtsen was ‘fantasy’ and at one point he’d staged as lunch with his two other daughters, with two vacant chairs for them.
‘He would have said anything he could to try and get me to come back to the abuse and prison like state that I lived in and I was not interested in doing that and he would not take “no” for an answer.
The schoolgirl and babysitter pursued by teacher Chris Dawson before he allegedly murdered his wife was last week accused of ‘telling vicious lies’ to ‘destroy him and his family’.
Ms David repeatedly attacked JC, accusing her of inventing stories to harm him.
Chris Dawson’s barrister accused JC (above on her 1984 wedding day) of lying about being a sex slave in a bid to destroy Dawson , his family and to make money out of a ‘sensational’ story
In court, Ms David told JC ‘saying you were a sex slave … is absolutely not true’,’ claimed JC was using ‘that kind of language because it creates a good story you are wanting to sell’ and accused her of ‘reinventing your life with Chris Dawson in the most vicious way’.
‘It’s a pretty sensational stuff (and) one of the reasons is you think you can make a fair bit of money.’
JC replied that the sex slave story ‘is true’, and forcefully said ‘no’ in response to the assertion she wanted to destroy Dawson’s life.
Ms David said one of the claims JC made to police in 1990 after leaving Chris Dawson was that his twin brother Paul’s wife Marilyn had forged the signature of Lyn Dawson after her disappearance to cash in on an insurance policy.
JC had told detectives about a conversation between Paul, Marilyn and Chris Dawson at the Bayview house after Lyn’s alleged murder.
In her police statement, read out in court, JC said: ‘During that first year at the house, I recall there being a situation where an insurance policy was cashed in by Chris.
‘I believe it was a policy in Lyn’s name taken out on Chris’s life. It required Lyn’s signature to cash policy in.
JC Denied cutting Lynette Dawson out of family photos after she moved into the family home at Bayview two days after Lyn (above with Chris Dawson and their daughters) had vanished in January 1982
‘I was present when a discussion between Chris, Paul and Marilyn… it was agreed Marilyn would sign Lyn’s signature on this document.
‘I was familiar with both Lyn’s and Marilyn’s handwriting, similar in appearance… being both small and neat.’
Ms David put it to JC the reason she made the allegation was ‘to create the impression Chris Dawson was doing something nefarious … there was no such conversation’, to which JC replied, ‘there certainly was’.
‘(You were) utilising that as an opportunity to tell another vicious lie about Chris Dawson and his family,’ Ms David put to JC, who replied, ‘No’.
Responding to JC’s assertion she hadn’t worn the clothes of Chris Dawson’s allegedly murdered wife Lyn because he told her to, but because ‘you were tying to cut Lyn Dawson out of Chris Dawson’s life.
‘Just as you cut her out of many photographs? You used to sometimes cut Lyn Dawson out of photographs of the family?’
JC again replied saying, ‘no, that is a lie’.
Ms David tendered photographs of JC and Chris Dawson on their wedding day, in which she asserted the teenager looked like the ‘happy, quintessential beaming bride’.
JC said looking happy ‘didn’t mean I was happy… I think I’d resigned myself that I was not going to get away from him, because I’d tried and he’d pursued me down the street, rapped on my door.’
JC said that rather than being a happy bride, she had wanted to end the relationship and be a normal teenager, but that Chris Dawson (pictured together) had chased her into submission
JC has previously described how she feared for her life after he violently ripped off a G-string she secretly bought.
She said Dawson sold his family home, disposed of his wife Lynette’s clothes and jewellery and moved her and his daughters in December 1984 to a remote Queensland property she came to call ‘the compound’.
She was heavily pregnant with her own child, but had married Dawson in January of that year, when JC said, he had first been violent towards her.
JC said that after all the wedding guests had left, Dawson ‘turned to me and grabbed me about the neck with his two hands, I don’t know why’.
The remote property was on three hectares of bushland at Yawalpah near Coomera in Queensland which was then ‘in the middle of nowhere’, surrounded by a chain wire fence which was constantly banged into by kangaroos.
Chris Dawson (above) with Lyn Dawson and her mother in 1975 when the family still believed he was a ‘gorgeous’ and loving man, but seven years later Lyn would have vanished from the face of the earth
‘I felt like a prisoner there,’ JC told the court, saying she had moved up there heavily pregnant with her daughter and had no neighbours other than Chris Dawson’s twin Paul and his wife, Marilyn.
After giving birth to her own daughter Kristen in January 1985, JC said she felt differently towards Dawson’s daughters with Lynette.
‘I was only allowed to treat them like little princesses and if I did discipline them he would discipline me and they came to realise I had no authority.
‘(But) I was consumed by my own child and the love I had for her. Chris Dawson was not happy’ .
After two more years in the compound seeing virtually no-one, JC became worried her daughter ‘had no contact with children her age’ and took her to play group, although Dawson told her ‘not to go’.
After discussing married life with other mothers, and telling Dawson about women who ‘go out shopping by themselves and meet other people’, he ‘forbade me’ from going back and ‘cut up the credit card’.
When JC brought up the topic of the disappearance of Dawson’s first wife Lyn (above Lyn with Chris) she said to him ‘you got rid of your first wife, you could easily get rid of me’, and he went very still
JC (above with Lynette Dawson’s daughters) said she was expected to treat them like ‘princesses’ but when she took her own daughter to play group, Chris Dawson forbade her to return and cut up her credit card
She said by 1989 she’d made a friend, a woman called Toni Melrose who played Cooee the Gumnut Fairy at Dreamworld which was up the road from her house and the two women had gone to a lingerie party.
‘I purchased this G-string underwear. I probably used cash I’d squirrelled away,’ JC told the court.
‘I brought it home and put on for Chris Dawson and paraded around. He said ‘you are only going to wear it for me’ .
‘I said ‘I’ll just wear it as underwear as I see fit’. He got physically violent at me (saying) ‘you’re not going to wear that for anyone but me’, you don’t have any rights kind of thing, and he ripped it off me.
‘I was frightened. Something like that hadn’t happen before.’
That same year, JC said she had consulted a solicitor ‘because as the relationship had deteriorated so badly, I feared for my life basically at that time.’
Dawson had told her about the Yawalpah house they owned jointly that ‘this is all mine, you won’t have anything if you leave me’.
JC recalled how Chris Dawson became enraged when she brought home a secretly purchased a G-string and got physically violent, saying ‘you’re not going to wear that for anyone but me’ and ‘he ripped it off me’
JC said she later met with members of Lyn’s family (Lynette Dawon, above left, with her mother, second right, and Chris, right) and tolde them about his ‘hit man’ plan, after which she went to police
Asked whether the topic of the disappearance of Dawson’s first wife Lyn ever arose, JC said ‘it was never a topic of conversation. I brought it up one time and said ‘you got rid of your first wife, you could easily get rid of me’.
JC said Dawson’s response was to go ‘completely still’ and then say to her ‘don’t say things like that to me’.
She said she left the marriage in 1990, filed for divorce ‘quickly and was granted custody of Kristen.
Under cross-examination by Pauline David, JC denied she had gone ‘out of her way top find time’ to be with Chris Dawson as a schoolgirl or that he had initially had an ‘entirely appropriate teacher-student relationship’ with her.
‘I think his behaviour towards me was inappropriate for a teacher’ and shot back at Ms David’s insistence that it had been in 1980, saying ‘the grooming stage you mean?’
She was asked if she ‘fell in love’ with Dawson, to which she replied, ‘after he groomed me and abused me and insisted that I marry him.
‘Not so much, I was a child’.
Asked if Dawson had ‘developed genuine affection towards you that was not of a sexual nature’, JC insisted it ‘absolutely was’.
Asked by Ms David whether she had a ‘healthy and loving relationship’ with Dawson, she said she’d never had any previous relationship to compare it with.
‘I don’t think I was ever an adult in that relationship. I didn’t make any decisions. They were made for me under threat of violence every day,’ she said.
Asked whether she was making up ‘lies’ to try and destroy Dawson, JC replied, ‘I’m not going to destroy him. He will destroy himself for what he has done to people, to me and to Lyn.’
Cards addressed to ‘Petal’ and ‘Bub’, Dawson’s nicknames for the woman now known as JC, and one is signed by him ‘Love Always God’, the name Dawson used for himself to disguise the fact he was romancing a 16-year-old
In her earlier testimony on Thursday, JC told the court how during her marriage to Dawson she had become his ‘slave and sex slave’.
JC said she had become resentful while aged only 18 at having to care for Dawson’s two daughters, after his wife Lynette Dawson disappeared in January 1982.
She said Dawson himself never brought up subject of his wife’s whereabouts , and that ‘it didn’t come up at all unless I got so cranky and asked when is she coming back, that I was 18, I was taking care of two children, having to learn to cook, to clean, to be the substitute housekeeper, sex slave, stepmother, babysitter, slave, just a slave.’
The court was shown photos of JC wearing Lynette Dawson’s clothes, and photos of her own wedding to Dawson in 1984, which lasted for six years before she left him in 1990.
The court also released cards and notes Dawson left in JC’s schoolbag in the year that the schoolgirl – who was half Dawson’s age – went to live at the family home and swim topless in front of his wife in the family pool.
JC said Dawson called her ‘Petal’, himself ‘God’ and pledged they would be together forever at a time when his wife was still alive, but vanished soon afterward
Romantic cards to the teenage schoolgirl who told the court on Thursday that in the same year he drove her in her school uniform over the Sydney Harbour Bridge to a building site and told her afterwards he had planned to hire a hitman to kill his wife
The secret love messages, released on Thursday by the NSW Supreme Court during the murder trial of former PE teacher and football star Dawson, had been kept for 40 years by JC .
This was despite the fact Dawson told the schoolgirl who became his second wife to destroy them.
The court heard on Thursday that Dawson gave the girl the romantic cards in the same year he drove her in her school uniform over the Sydney Harbour Bridge to a building site and told her afterwards he had planned to hire a hitman to kill his wife.
‘(When he came out) he said ‘I went inside to get a hit man to kill him but then I decided I couldn’t do it because innocent people would be hurt,’ the former schoolgirl, known only as JC said in evidence.
The cards Dawson gave the teen on Valentines Day, her birthday and at Christmas, have greeting card images of romantic couples and proforma greetings like ‘All I need in all my my life is all your love’, ‘I wuv you’ and one is signed off by him with ‘Love always, God’.
They are addressed to ‘Petal’ and ‘Bub’, Dawson’s nicknames for the woman now known as JC, and ‘God’ is the name Dawson used for himself to disguise the fact he was romancing a 16-year-old.
A Happy Valentines Day car from Chris Dawson to the schoolgirl who had turned 17 days earlier an din the same year he moved her into his marital home before his wife Lynette vanished
Dawson told JC his wife Lyn (above with their daughter) had voluntarily left the marital home but JC found her diamond rings and a wardrobe full of her clothing
For a 1981 card Dawson addressed the envelope to, ‘The most beautiful girl in the world on her 17th B’day’ and wrote on the card inside under a proforma greeting ‘Happy birthday my little chickadee!’.
The words he hand wrote were ‘To my lovely beautiful Bub. Hoping today is a very happy one and knowing we will share all the birthdays to follow. All my love forever XXX’.
In a 1981 Valentines Day card, he wrote , ‘To my lovely beautiful (JC). The happiness have given me will be with me forever’, and he also enclosed photos of himself.
In a Christmas 1980 card, when JC was aged 16, Dawson allegedly called her by his pet name for her, ‘Petal’ and wrote, ‘Love always, God’ which JC said he often used to disguise his identity in love notes to her, because ‘it was 1980 and I was 16’.
Chris Dawson is on trial for the alleged murder of his first wife Lynette (above, the couple together) who hasn’t been seen since January 1982
Chris Dawson left love notes like the one above in the schoolbag of JC every time she went to biology class, even though she was a 16-year-old and half his age
Other cards have images of naked little girls with voice bubbles saying ‘Without you around to wuv, I go to pot’ and ‘in case I haven’t told you lately, I WUV YOU’ .
Inside the card, Dawson had written ‘all my love forever’.
JC said Dawson had left love notes in her schoolbag while she was at biology class in the year before he allegedly murdered his wife.
Now aged in her late 50s, JC told the court that after the trip to tyhe building site when Dawson mentioned the hit man, she had tried to end their relationship but he had told her he ‘missed me terribly and couldn’t live without me’.
JC said by early January 1982 she had gone off to live with her sister, then stayed with friends at South West Rocks from where she was retrieved by Chris Dawson on January 10 or 11.
‘The only one time he brought up Lyn Dawson, he said Lyn’s gone, she’s not coming back, come back to Sydney and help me look after the children,’ she said.
A court has heard how Chris Dawson called a student at his former high school ‘petal’ and that he wooed her with secret love letters left in her schoolbag
Chris Dawson and his wife Lynette married and had two children, but she vanished without trace aged 33 in early 1982 after he had begun an affair with schoolgirl JC
JC was taken back to the Dawson family home at Gillwinga Drive and from then on she slept in Lyn Dawson’s marital bed.
In side the closets in that bedroom were ‘Lyn’s underwear’ and a ‘wardrobe bursting to overflowing’ with her clothes, Lyn’s ‘diamond rings’ and possibly her nursing badge.
In the days and weeks afterwards ‘the clothes were all put in green garbage bags with the view to taking them to her mother’s .. I was allowed to keep anything I wanted, a couple of tops, some pants, I didn’t give it a second thought.
If JC asked where Lyn was he told her ‘she went away with religious people’ but ‘I thought it always was a fob off. It was too hard for me, I was a child, I couldn’t look after two children.
The court heard that Dawson moved the schoolgirl into the home and when his wife (pictured together) fell asleep after he mixed her cocktails, had sex with the teenager in the family home
JC denied she was the ‘quintessential beaming bride’ on her wedding day aged 18 and said she was ‘resigned’ to the fact she couldn’t escape the relentless pursuit of Chris Dawson
The onetime Cromer High School student on Sydney‘s Northern Beaches had earlier told the court that Dawson, who was then a PE teacher twice her age, had eyed her up ‘in the playground’ from when she was 15.
‘He told me he had seen me in the playground the year before when I was 15 and he’d like to get to know me because he was attracted to me,’ the woman known as JC told the court.
‘I believe he deliberately tried to take my class the following year.’
She said Dawson had put his hand on her leg at a school athletics carnival, had with his twin brother Paul both lied to their wives to to drink with schoolgirls at the local Time and Tide Hotel, and kissed her in the Dee Why car park while giving her driving lessons.
Another family photo provided to court shows Chris and Lynette in 1979
Helena Simms, (pictured left) the mother of alleged murder victim Lynette Dawson, kept a diary documenting the treatment of her daughter at the hands of her husband Chris Dawson
JC told the court that in 1980, Dawson had bought the 16-year-old two different schoolbags, in which he left love notes.
‘He used to leave notes of love and affection in may bag when I went to biology,’ JC told the court.
‘When I left the relationship in 1990, he said I should destroy all those notes. I destroyed most of them.’
But she said of ‘the rest’, ‘I kept the originals for 40 years.’
The Crown claims Mr Dawson, now 73, killed his wife and disposed of her body because of an affair with one of his students, known as JC
The love letters tendered at the trial included a card Dawson gave JC on her 17th birthday, signed by him ‘Happy Birthday XXX’ and a Happy Valentine’s Day 1981 card.
Asked how that made her feel at the time, JC said, ‘I felt loved’, which was ‘quite different’ to her home life, where her stepfather was physically attacking her mother.
JC told the court she would spend the night at Dawson’s home while she was hired to babysit his children.
Asked what she thought the birthday card meant, JC said she thought it meant ‘that he expected to share every birthday together – that we would be together forever’.
When she was forced out of home after the stepfather hit her, Dawson had offered her a room at his house, and although Lynette ‘was very welcoming’ she soon noticed his cruel taunts to his wife, the court heard.
The judge-alone trial continues.