Teacher and former rugby league player Chris Dawson appeared to have it all – a loving family and a beautiful home in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. But in the summer of 1982 his wife Lynette disappeared and not long afterwards Dawson married a much younger woman a former student. Less than a decade later this young woman escaped the marriage and went to the police to record her suspicions that Dawson had been involved in Lynette’s disappearance.
Around this time Rebecca Hazel was working in a women’s refuge on the Northern Beaches when a colleague shared her story of enduring coercive control at the hands of Dawson, when she was his student, and then wife and she shared her suspicions about the fate of his first wife Lynette. These revelations affected Rebecca, and eventually she decided to investigate. Over years, coroners, police and journalists all shared with Rebecca their knowledge of the case, and disappointments that it remained unsolved. Until, in May 2018, Hedley Thomas launched the Teacher’s Pet podcast, and in December 2018, Chris Dawson was charged with murder. He was convicted in August 2022.
Rebecca Hazel has spent ten years working to ensure that the stories of two women who were misused by Chris Dawson are heard, that their perpetrator was brought to justice and that Lynette’s family can properly honour their much-loved sister, aunt, cousin and mother.
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Rebecca Hazel has worked in family law; in a women and children’s refuge; helped establish and worked in the Women’s Family Law Support Service at the Family Court in Sydney; and briefly in domestic violence policy at Legal Aid. She lives in Sydney's northern beaches.
Stephanie Clifford-Smith is a journalist and author of two non-fiction books: Bernard King’s biography A Marvellous Party, and Kink: A Straight Girl’s Investigation. Her career has spanned fifteen years in medical publishing, investigative journalism study at UTS and over a decade as a food and travel writer.