A pink cardigan in pieces dug up at the home of Lynette Dawson 16 years after she was allegedly killed has no DNA link to the mother-of-two, Chris Dawson’s murder trial heard on Friday.
Former Detective Damian Loone told the NSW Supreme Court on Friday that police has considered Lynette Dawson might be buried near the pool, because the surrounding ground had been paved soon after she vanished.
Asked under cross-examination how this idea had arisen, Mr Loone said it was during an interview with JC, the schoolgirl babysitter who had replaced Lynette as Chis Dawson’s partner and later his wife.
The trial had earlier heard JC swam topless and naked in the pool while living at the Dawson house at Gillwinga Drive in Bayview in Sydney‘s northern beaches, and babysitting the couple’s two young daughters before Lyn disappeared.
‘She was going for a swim in the swimming pool and when she went to get out of the pool and put her hands on the pool to get out and it was dirt, and sometime after it was paved,’ he said.
Asked by Dawson’s defence lawyer Pauline David why he had ‘concluded Lynette Dawson might be buried there’, Mr Loone said police had received ‘a lot of anonymous phone calls. It was everyone’s belief she was buried under the pool’.
Pieces of pink cardigan unearthed at the Dawson family home 16 years after Lynette disappeared had been analysed but no connection could be found with the missing woman
Former investigating detective Damian Loone denied telling anyone to say that Lynette Dawson (above) was ‘under the pool’ at the Bayview property where she had been last seen
Police searched the 2 Gillwinga Drive, Bayview home where Lynette Dawson was living with husband Chris and their two young children and vanished in January 1982
A subsequent search turned up the cardigan, but Mr Loone said forensic analysis was unable to link it to Mrs Dawson.
no positive result had been returned when the pieces of the cardigan, unearthed by police at the 2 Gillwinga Drive home 16 years after Lyn Dawson was last seen there in January 1982 had been analysed.
Mr Loone agreed with crown prosecutor Craig Everson SC that ‘nothing relevant from that cardigan’ linking it to Lyn Dawson had ben uncovered.
The court heard that in the absence of finding Lynette Dawson’s body, the onus was on the prosecution to prove she is dead let alone that Mr Dawson was responsible.
After Dawson’s barrister objected to evidence that police ‘proof of life’ checks had found no trace of Lyn, Justice Ian Harrison said it was ‘an issue for the Crown to establish beyond reasonable doubt that Lynette Dawson is dead’.
‘It is notorious that Lynette Dawson’s body has not been located,’ the judge said, ‘or recorded so as to require the Crown to establish that she is otherwise not alive.
The trial of Chris Dawson for the alleged 1982 murder of his first wife Lynette (above the couple together) has been going for more than five weeks and is likely to conclude in late June
Detective Loone said the swimming pool surrounds at the Dawson home (above) were paved soon after Lyn’s disappearance and ‘everyone’ thought she was ‘buried under’ there
‘Inquiries (were) made of a series of agencies, including Births Marriages and Deaths in several states, banking institutions, the immigration department and other entities which (it) might be expected a living person might have come into contact with.’
Dawson’s lawyer Pauline David had objected to a summary of police ‘proof-of-life checks of … bank accounts, Medicare, taxation records … the passport office’ and her bank accounts, saying that would require full lists of passengers on flights dating back to 1982.
Ms David criticised the former detective for treating it as a murder case rather than a missing persons case, accusing him of being ‘incapable’ of keeping an open mind; which he denied.
Former detective Damian Loone said sightings reported of Lynette Dawson, including one of her in her nurse’s uniform were not credible and that she hadn’t been registered as a nurse after her disappearance
Damian Loone said he believed the former school girl JC’s story that she believed the person she replaced as Chris Dawson’s wife (above Chris and Lyn Dawson together) had been killed
The detective said that when Chris Dawson’s had claimed to have nothing to do with his wife;s disappearance in a 1991 police interview (above) he had given ‘a version’ of events
‘Your case theory was Lynette Dawson was dead and Chris Dawson had killed her,’ Ms David put to Mr Loone, to which he answered, ‘Yes’.
Asked if he was ‘incapable of considering any evidence outside that,’ Mr Loone said, ‘I disagree’ and he said he followed up one ‘sighting’ of Lyn, but had discounted it.
Ms David’s queried the detective as to why he dismissed Chris Dawson’s claims in a 1991 taped police interview he had nothing to do with his wife’s disappearance.
Mr Loone said the accused ‘gave a version’ of events.
Asked why he hadn’t informed a Coroner’s inquest about sightings of Lyn Dawson in the years after she vanished, Mr Loone said ‘we would have made diligent inquiries and those sightings were not confirmed’.
Ms David also asked Mr Loone why he had not cautioned JC – or considered she might be lying because of her own bitter custody battle – about her claims to police that Chris Dawson was responsible for Lyn’s disappearance.
‘She was a young girl, as far as I was concerned there was not motive on her behalf, ‘ he said. ‘I spoke with her and her answers appeared to be to be truthful.’
Christopher Michael Dawson, 73, is accused of murdering his wife and disposing of her body in January 1982 so he could have an unfettered relationship with JC. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
His defence case is that Lyn left their marriage of her own accord and abandoned her two young daughters, then aged four and two.
The murder trial began in early May and is into its fifth week, with a one week adjournment interrupting proceedings when Mr Everson contracted Covid.
The Crown’s witnesses have attempted to paint Dawson as a violent, controlling and abusive husband, with testimony emerging that Mrs Dawson had been seen variously with a black eye, and bruises around her throat and on her arms and thigh.
Witnesses have said they saw him shove his wife’s face into the dirt, swing her into a doorframe, and demean her with insults such as ‘fatso’.
Dawson’s legal team has argued the witnesses’ testimony has been contaminated because they had talked about the case with each other and had listened to The Teacher’s Pet podcast about the case, arguing it was broadcast with an assumption that her husband was guilty.
They have also argued that police failed to probably investigate the possibility that Lyn Dawson is still alive and had tunnel vision about Chris Dawson’s alleged guilt.
Dawson claims JC’s allegations are lies spurred by a bitter custody battle which occurred after their 1990 break-up.