A “sad” Chris Dawson has been subjected to death threats by fellow inmates as he faces up to the prospect of spending the rest of his life in jail.
Just two days after being found guilty of his wife Lynette’s murder in January 1982, Dawson, 74, shuffled into the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday wearing a green prison-issue tracksuit and blue face mask.
Chris Dawson Subjected to Death Threats’, But Will Remain in Jail
His lawyer Greg Walsh had previously flagged the prospect of making a bail application as he awaits sentencing proceedings but on Thursday said he would not apply for the 74-year-old to be released.
Under the state’s tough new bail laws, offenders facing the likely prospect of being jailed must prove “special” or “exceptional circumstances” in order to be bailed in the time between being convicted and their sentencing.
Outside court, Mr Walsh said there was “no point” to a bail application because it was “doomed to fail”.
Inside the court, Mr Walsh asked Justice Ian Harrison to issue a direction to corrective services authorities to protect his client after he was threatened by other prisoners.
“He’s been subject to serious death threats by a number of prisoners. It’s not unusual having regard to his profile and the charge he’s been convicted of,” Mr Walsh said outside of court.
“So he’s on non-association so he’s under strict protection at the moment.”
Earlier this week, Justice Harrison found that Dawson, a former rugby league player, part-time model and teacher, told decades of lies to cover up the killing.
He found Dawson was “infatuated” and “obsessed” with a former student and the couple’s babysitter – who can only be referred to as JC – which drove him to murder his wife.
Some disturbing reveals
During his long-running trial earlier this year, JC told the court that she was groomed by Dawson and that he would have sex with her when she would stay overnight at his Gilwinga Drive home.
Dawson will now face sentencing proceedings, beginning with a sentence hearing on November 11 where Mr Walsh will make submissions on his behalf.
Justice Harrison will then decide Dawson’s sentence at a later date.
Mr Walsh has flagged he will argue in court that Dawson is suffering dementia and other physical ailments which would make his incarceration more onerous.
Outside court on Thursday, Mr Walsh said Dawson continues to deny having killed Lynette and “asserts that he’s innocent”,
He added Dawson was conscious of the fact that unless he can have his conviction quashed, he will die in jail.
“He realises the predicament that he’s in and he faces life in prison,” Mr Walsh said.
JC told the court that while she was holidaying with family and friends
During her evidence, JC told the court that while she was holidaying with family and friends at South West Rocks in early 1982, Mr Dawson called her to say “Lyn’s gone, she’s not coming back.”
Justice Harrison found that during this period, Dawson “resolved to kill his wife”.
The court heard that JC was driven back to Sydney by Dawson three days after Lynette disappeared.
Lynette’s body has never been found and she never contacted her family, friends or colleagues after she went missing on January 8, 1982.
NSW Police have said they remain determined to discover where her remains are buried.
During a sentence hearing, an offender can choose to give evidence or offer expressions of remorse, but are under no obligation to do so.
Mr Walsh on Thursday told reporters he didn’t believe Dawson would speak at his sentence hearing.
Just moments after Justice Harrison handed down his verdict on Tuesday afternoon, Lynette’s brother Greg Simms pleaded with his former brother-in-law to reveal where the body was buried.
Ms Dawson was 33 when she was last seen on Friday, January 8, 1982 when she spoke to her mother Helena Simms on a phone call.
Mr Dawson in 1991 told detectives during a police interview that he had dropped off his wife at a Mona Vale bus stop so she could go shopping and it was planned that she would meet him later that afternoon.
However she did not arrive at the Northbridge Baths, where Mr Dawson worked as part-time lifeguard.
He had claimed Ms Dawson phoned him at the baths to say she needed time away before phoning him on several more occasions.
However Justice Harrison found that those claimed phone calls were “lies”.
Mr Walsh has flagged that Dawson
Mr Walsh has flagged that Dawson will appeal his conviction following his sentencing, saying that Justice Harrison made key findings in his client’s favour.
They included saying that it was “unlikely” that Dawson had told JC that he planned to hire a hitman, as well as saying that he could not find beyond a reasonable doubt that Dawson had been violent towards his wife in the past.
“The circumstances in which his honour was satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that he killed his wife, there was a complete absence of such evidence,” Mr Walsh said.
“There was no evidence of any intention to kill.”
Asked about Dawson’s state of mind, Mr Walsh said he was “still in shock” following Justice Harrison’s verdict.
“He seems to have shut down, he’s very very sad about his predicament,” Mr Walsh said.
“He’s worried about his children, he’s worried about his loved ones.”