Police detail Chris Dawson’s ‘quiet’ arrest
POLICE have detailed the arrest of former Newtown Jets rugby league star and subject of popular podcast The Teacher's Pet Chris Dawson.
NSW Police confirmed a 70-year-old man was arrested in Queensland shortly before 8am (AEST) in relation to the murder of Lyn Dawson.
Mr Dawson, a former high school teacher, has been taken to Gold Coast suburb of Southport where he is expected to be charged with the murder of his wife. NSW police will seek an extradition.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller told reporters Mr Dawson went "quietly" with police as he was arrested this morning. Detective Superintendent Scott Cook added he was "calm and little bit taken aback".
Mr Fuller said Lyn's family was relieved to hear of this morning's arrest.
"I have said from the start what is important to me was justice for Lynette Dawson and her family," he said. "Today is an important step forward for that."
He said statements from witnesses have "helped pull pieces of the puzzle together" when pushed on what new evidence led to the arrest. He said these new statements came about as a result of media coverage.
"We have solved homicide before without identifying the body," he said. "Ideally in this case we will not give up on trying to identify the whereabouts of Lynette Dawson, but from our perspective, it is not crucial to finalising the matter.
"We haven't given up hope in terms of finding Lynette Dawson's body."
Mr Fuller also added that no new evidence arose from the latest dig at the family home in September.
Mr Cook told reporters detectives were confident about their case against Mr Dawson.
"There are other examples in policing history and history of the courts where people have been convicted of murder without a body," he said. "That may or may not be accepted in this particular case. It is a matter for the court in due course."
Lyn's brother Gregg Simms this morning said he was "quite emotional".
"We've had a cry, we've cuddled, we're just completely over the moon that something has finally happened," he told The Australian.
Lyn vanished 37 years ago from Sydney's northern beaches in January 1982.
Mr Dawson has always denied being involved, telling police she ran off to join a "religious cult". However, two coroners found Lyn was probably murdered by Mr Dawson in 1982.
A fresh dig for evidence at the former family home in the northern beaches suburb of Bayview took place in September.
The case has grabbed worldwide media attention after The Australian's investigative podcast series The Teacher's Pet, for which reporter Hedley Thomas and producer Slade Gibson won the Gold Walkley, Australian journalism's highest honour.
Mr Dawson, has long been a suspect in the disappearance of his ex-wife, who was last seen alive more than 35 years ago.
Detectives from the Homicide Squad's Unsolved Homicide Unit established Strike Force Scriven in 2015 to reinvestigate the circumstances surrounding her disappearance and suspected murder.
"Earlier this week, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions provided advice to police, and following further inquiries, detectives applied for an arrest warrant before travelling to Queensland," NSW Police said in a statement this morning.
"Just before 8am today, a 70-year-old Coolum man was arrested by detectives from the Queensland Police Service's Homicide Squad in the presence of Strive Force Scriven investigators at Biggera Waters, on the Gold Coast, in Queensland."
NSW detectives will apply for his extradition at his first court appearance.
Lynette Dawson's family has been advised of today's arrest and have requested privacy.