A former teammate of Chris Dawson is expected to tell his murder trial how he was asked for help to kill his wife Lynette during a 1975 footy trip.

The star witness, Robert Silkman, has finally been called as a witness after his evidence was flagged at the start of the trial.

Now in his seventies, Silkman was a reserve grade rugby league footballer along with Chris Dawson for the Newtown Jets back in 1975.

The court heard that both Chris Dawson and his twin brother Paul were both footballers for the club and had asterisks attached to their names, denoting ‘important player’. 

Called late on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Silkman began describing the Newtown Jets player he hung around with back then. 

They included star halfback Paul Hayward, later a heroin trafficker caught by Thai police in 1978 and who later tragically died of a heroin overdose.

Asked by crown prosecutor Craig Everson SC who he mixed socially with in 1975, Mr Silkman said, Ray Lee, Pauly Hayward, Dave Oliveri … and friends off that group’.

Dave Oliveri was a NSW police Officer who became the subject of an ICAC investigation and resigned from the force in disgrace in 1988, but was never charged.

On a 1975 game playbook of Newtown games against Canterbury Bankstown, one player listed was Doug Kemister, who had criminal underworld connections.

The 1975 Newtown Jets team including Chris Dawson (not pictured), his twin Paul Dawson (back row, fourth from left) had colourful identities such as armed robber Gary Sullivan (front row second from left), drug trafficker Paul Hayward (back row, second from left), disgraced cop David Oliveri (back row, third from left) and alleged mob driver Doug Kemister (bottom right).

The trial has heard that Newtown Jets former team mate of Chris Dason's, Robert Silkman, will claim the accused asked him in 1975 - six years before Lyn Dawson(above) disappeared if he could get someone to kill her

The trial has heard that Newtown Jets former team mate of Chris Dason’s, Robert Silkman, will claim the accused asked him in 1975 – six years before Lyn Dawson(above) disappeared if he could get someone to kill her

Chris Dawson (above) played in reserve grade with Robert Silkman, who is testifying to Dawson's murder trial about an alleged request from the accused for help in finding someone to kill his wife in 1975

Chris Dawson (above) played in reserve grade with Robert Silkman, who is testifying to Dawson’s murder trial about an alleged request from the accused for help in finding someone to kill his wife in 1975

The trial heard in Mr Everson’s opening address more than a month ago that Mr Silkman will claim Chris Dawson asked him to help ‘get rid of his wife’ Lynette – more than six years before she vanished.

The men flew to the Gold Coast for an end of season holiday in late 1975.

The alleged request occurred on the flight home from the trip, which had included  watching the October 1, 1975, Muhammad Ali  boxing fight against Joe Frazier in the Philippines, known as  the ‘Thriller in Manila’. 

On the flight in an aisle seat was Robert Silkman, Mr Everson said in his opening, a man with ‘some admitted criminal connections’ was approached by Chris Dawson.

‘The two of them were well known to each other, having played together in the second grade side at Newtown.

‘The crown alleges that the accused asked Mr Silkman if he knew someone who could get rid of his wife.’

Testifying via AVL from Bankstown Police Station because he has a crippling back injury which makes it too painful to travel far, Mr Silkman was dressed all in black and with thick black glasses.    

Paul Hayward was the Newtown Jets' star halfback and a friend of Chris Dawson witness Robert Silkman, but he later died from  an overdose after getting caught in Thailand as a heroin trafficker

Paul Hayward was the Newtown Jets’ star halfback and a friend of Chris Dawson witness Robert Silkman, but he later died from  an overdose after getting caught in Thailand as a heroin trafficker

Chris and Paul Dawson (above in a Levi's jeans ad in the 1980s) were both footballers for the Newtown Jets back in 1975 and had asterisks attached to their names, denoting 'important player'

Chris and Paul Dawson (above in a Levi’s jeans ad in the 1980s) were both footballers for the Newtown Jets back in 1975 and had asterisks attached to their names, denoting ‘important player’

Robert Silkman was friends with Dave Oliveri, a NSW policeman who later resigned in disgrace

On the Newtown Jets playbook was Doug Kemister (above) who later had criminal connections

Robert Silkman was friends with Dave Oliveri, (left) a NSW policeman who later resigned in disgrace and on the Newtown Jets playbook was Doug Kemister (right) who later had criminal connections

 After legal argument delayed his testimony on Wednesday, Mr Silkman was asked to return on Thursday morning to continue his evidence.

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 his babysitter and former student, known as JC. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge

His defence case is that Lyn left her marriage to Chris Dawson of her own accord and abandoned her two young daughters, then aged four and two.   

Prosecutors have attempted to paint Chris Dawson (above with Lynette and one of their daughters) as a violent, controlling and abusive husband, but his defence contends Lyn left the marriage of her own accord, abandoning her children

Prosecutors have attempted to paint Chris Dawson (above with Lynette and one of their daughters) as a violent, controlling and abusive husband, but his defence contends Lyn left the marriage of her own accord, abandoning her children

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 mystery surrounding Mrs Dawson, arguing it was broadcast with an assumption that her husband was guilty.

They have also argued that because these events happened four decades ago and memories have faded over time, the testimony given now is not an accurate portrayal of what happened.

Dawson claims JC’s allegations are lies spurred by a bitter custody battle which occurred after their 1990 break-up. 

The trial heard an intercepted phone call between Chris Dawson and his sister in which they discussed his schoolgirl second wife JC (centre) which Lynette Hutchon said had been 'difficult, causing custody problems' in the 1990s

The trial heard an intercepted phone call between Chris Dawson and his sister in which they discussed his schoolgirl second wife JC (centre) which Lynette Hutchon said had been ‘difficult, causing custody problems’ in the 1990s



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