Australia: School teacher kills wife to pursue affair with teenage student, gets 24 years in jail following podcast

Friday, 2 December 2022 (16:05 IST)
The top court in Australia's most populous state, New South Wales, sentenced a former high school teacher to a prison term of 24 years on Friday for killing his wife four decades ago. The murder of Lynette Dawson was previously the topic of a popular podcast.

In August this year, the court had found Christopher Dawson guilty of killing his wife in 1982 so that he could pursue an affair with his teenage student.

Since there is a non-parole period of 18 years, the 74-year-old will be eligible for parole only in 2040, when he will be 92-years-old.

"Dawson has enjoyed until his arrest 36 years in the community, unimpeded by the taint of a conviction for killing his wife, or by any punishment for doing so," New South Wales Supreme Court Judge Ian Harrison said during the sentencing.

However, Dawson's defender said that his client was still maintaining his innocence.

"Our system of justice and our democracy is based upon the presumption of innocence," the lawyer said.

Victim's body was never found

The victim's brother Greg Simms welcomed the court's ruling.

"We respect and thank Judge Harrison for his sentence, and hope Chris Dawson lives a long life in order to serve that sentence." he said.

Lynette Dawson's body was never found after her murder and the investigations had fizzled out due to lack of leads in the case.

However, in 2018, interest in the case sparked again after the case became a subject of the hit podcast "The Teacher's Pet." The revived interest in the case compelled police to reopen their investigations.

The podcast, hosted by journalist Hedley Thomas, unearthed new evidence leading to Dawson's arrest in 2018.

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