A simple three sentence message to his missing wife was sensationally used against Chris Dawson to prove he had murdered the mother-of-two.
“Lyn, I love you, we all miss you. Please ring. We want you home, Chris,” the ad read.
The message was printed in the classified section of The Daily Telegraph on March 27, 1982.
At the time, the short note probably seemed innocuous, stuck between an ad from a lonely widow and a 19-year-old girl looking for a boyfriend.
It may have even invoked feelings of pity or heartache from readers.
But, according to Tuesday’s NSW Supreme Court ruling, the writer, Chris Dawson, had already killed Lynette – the woman he was begging to return home – more than two months earlier.
Dawson was found guilty of her murder, with Justice Harrison finding he had “resolved to kill his wife” after becoming “infatuated” with his student and teen babysitter, known as JC, whom he later married.
He said it was clear the mother-of-two had not voluntarily left her home, as had been suggested by Dawson throughout the trial.
The 33-year-old nurse was last seen on Friday January 8, 1982, when she spoke to her mother on the phone. She was never seen or heard from again, and her body was never found.
Dawson’s advertisement in the newspaper was published the day after his wedding anniversary, with prosecutors using it as proof he knew his wife was dead.
During the trial, the court heard the advertisement pointed to a hole in the 74-year-old’s story, as the teenage babysitter he was engaged in a sexual relationship with had already moved back into the Sydney northern beaches home he once shared with Lyn.
“If Lynette Dawson had been alive and seen the advertisement and returned home as requested, what would she have found? She would have found (JC) as having taken her place as the spouse to her husband and the mother to her children.”
Before Lyn vanished, JC had moved in with the married couple as a live-in babysitter.
However, the teen was forced to move out after Lyn accused her of “taking liberties” with her husband.
In early 1982, the teenager went to South West Rocks on NSW’s Mid North Coast on a holiday with her family and friends, during which she phoned Dawson every day.
JC said during one phone call Dawson told her: “Lyn’s gone, she’s not coming back, come back to Sydney to help me look after the children.”
This is when she moved back into the Bayview home and began sleeping in Dawson’s bed and wearing his wife’s clothes.
Lyn’s body has never been found, but police believe her remains may be somewhere in the Central Coast region, an area easily within reach of the couple’s northern beaches home.
Police dug up that property but Lyn’s remains were not found.
“There was the theory that he travelled to the Central Coast on January 9,” a police source told The Daily Telegraph.
But the police said the was no evidence that suggested the body was in any particular location. The Central Coast is a large area, around 550 square kilometres in size.
“The problem is that there is a lot of regional bush area between their home and when he went up the coast.
“There is no possible way to search it, it’s so vast,” the source said.
Justice Dawson said in his marathon five-hour judgment that Dawson had ample time to dispose of his wife’s body as his children were staying with a friend on January 9.
No one can vouch for his whereabouts during that time.
“The Crown case is that (Dawson) used that time to dispose of the body,” Justice Harrison said.
Without Dawson himself giving up her resting place, police are doubtful they will be able to find Lyn’s remains.
Outside court on Tuesday, Lyn’s brother, Greg Simms, called for Dawson to reveal where her body is.
Speaking to the media, Mr Simms said, while justice “may have been done”, the journey was still “not complete”.
“She is still missing, we still need to bring her home,” he said.
“We would ask Chris Dawson to find it in himself to finally do the decent thing and allow us to bring Lyn home to a peaceful rest, finally show her the dignity she deserves.”
Speaking to Sunrise this week, Lyn’s niece, Renee Simms, claimed Dawson would take the location of her body to his grave.
“I don’t think he will, no,” she said when asked if she believed the 74-year-old would tell police were his first wife’s body is.