Australia

‘At last we have justice’: Lynette’s family welcomes Chris Dawson’s 24-year murder sentence

Key Points
  • Chris Dawson has been jailed for a minimum of 18 years after murdering his wife Lynette in 1982.
  • He was given a non-parole period of 18 years and will be aged in his 90s before he can apply for release.
  • The decision concludes a four-decade long wait for justice for Mrs Dawson’s family.
This article contains references to domestic violence and abuse.
Lynette Dawson’s family says the sentencing of her husband Chris for her murder 40 years ago marks the end of “a very long, painful and challenging journey”.
Justice Ian Harrison delivered a maximum sentence of 24 years in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday, after finding the 74-year-old guilty of murder in August.
“In my opinion, the murder of Lynette Dawson is an objectively serious crime,” Justice Harrison said while sentencing Dawson.

“Lynette Dawson was faultless and undeserving of her fate.”

Chris Dawson maintains his innocence. Source: AAP / DAN HIMBRECHTS

Outside court, Lynette’s brother Greg Simms spoke of the impact this final chapter had on the family.

“Today marks the end of a very long, painful and challenging journey. At last we have justice for Lyn and that was our main aim.”
“Chris Dawson discarded her, the Dawsons disregarded her. From today on we would like her to be known and remembered as Lynette Joy Simms.”
Mr Simms said he hoped Dawson would live a long life so that he could serve the sentence imposed on him.
“We really didn’t believe this day would ever come. What we need now is to find Lyn and put her to rest. It’s our time to begin living our lives without having this hanging over our heads.

“Chris Dawson has had 40 years of freedom. Now it’s our turn.”

The decision concluded a decades-long wait for justice for Ms Dawson’s family, who are still pleading with the convicted killer to reveal the location of her body.
Dawson was given a non-parole period of 18 years, meaning he will be in his 90s before he can apply for release from jail.
Justice Harrison said Dawson “will probably die in jail”.
Dawson murdered his wife in January 1982 to have an unfettered relationship with a high school student who was also his babysitter, known as JC.
During the sentence hearing in November, crown prosecutor Craig Everson SC said Dawson had planned a “deliberate and conscious act” of domestic violence with the intention to kill.

He said a crime of “very great heinousness” required a term of life imprisonment.

Dawson’s lawyer Greg Walsh disputed claims the crime was at the high end in terms of objective seriousness.
Mr Walsh said the former Newtown Jets rugby league player had already suffered under the “most constant and egregious publicity” for four decades.
His health was also deteriorating, the court heard, with Dawson showing signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain condition often experienced by those who play contact sports.
Dawson has maintained his innocence and filed an appeal of his conviction.
If you or someone you know is impacted by family and domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit . In an emergency, call 000.

The Men’s Referral Service provides advice for men on domestic violence and can be contacted on 1300 766 491.

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