‘She’s under the pool’: Blunt message police told Lynette Dawson’s neighbour who reported seeing her TWO YEARS after vanishing – as murder trial hears about ANOTHER relative who disappeared
- Chris Dawson neighbour reported sighting of Lyn two years after disappearance
- Woman and husband insist they saw Lyn in nurse’s uniform at hospital in 1984
- On reporting sighting police told her Lyn ‘is under the pool’ at Dawson house
- Murder trial heard eerie story of another Dawson relative who left children
- Difference is she told daughter she ‘had to go’ before vanishing to New Zealand
A former neighbour of Chris Dawson has told his murder trial that she and her husband saw Lynette Dawson dressed in ‘a nurse’s uniform’ more than two years after the 33-year-old mother-of-two disappeared.
But Jill Breese said that when she rang police to report the alleged sighting in 1987 or 1988 she was told that the missing woman was ‘under the pool’ at the Dawson’s Bayview home.
Between 1979 and 1984, Mrs Breese and her husband Peter had lived in a property on Torumba Avenue in Bayview, Sydney, which backed onto the Dawson’s home on Gillwinga Drive.
The NSW Supreme Court heard on Friday that both she and Mr Breese believed they had seen Lynette Dawson at Rockcastle Private Hospital, now South Pacific Private, in the Sydney suburb of Curl Curl in June, 1984.
Peter Breese was recovering from a nose job, and some time after waking from his anaesthetic, he saw a woman three metres away for five to 10 seconds.
He said the woman wore the same round glasses and had the same hairstyle as Mrs Dawson, and was dressed in a nurse’s uniform.
The woman spun on her heel, walked away and never came back. ‘I believe it was Lynette Dawson,’ he told the court, although he was unsure of whether he had been wearing glasses at the time.
A couple claimed they saw Lyn Dawson in her nurse’s uniform more than two years after the 33-year-old mother-of-two (above) disappeared in January 1982 never to be seen again
When Jill Breese called police in around 1987 to report her alleged sighting of Lynette Dawson, she was told the missing woman was ‘under the pool’ of the family home at Bayview
Ex-neighbour Jill Breese claims she saw Lyn Dawson two years after she vanished ‘dressed in a nurse’s uniform’ while visiting her husband who was recovering in hospital
An audio recording of Jill Breese, who was too ill to testify, was played of her giving evidence in 2020, in which she claimed she had seen Mrs Dawson while visiting her husband in hospital.
Ms Breese said she saw a ‘side shot’ of a woman who walked past and stood at the nurse’s station.
‘The person I saw, I recognised as Lyn Dawson,’ she said in evidence.
When she called Mona Vale police station to report the sighting after seeing a Manly Daily article on missing persons, a constable told her Lyn was ‘under the pool’ in the family home.
Ms Breese said she was shocked at the police officer’s claim, ‘it was very abrupt, I didn’t think it was very professional’.
Christopher Michael Dawson, 73, is accused of murdering his wife and disposing of her body in January 1982 so he could have an unfettered relationship with his babysitter and former student, known as JC. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge
His defence case is that Lyn left her marriage to Chris Dawson of her own accord and abandoned her two young daughters, then aged four and two.
Witnesses have testified to either seeing or being told by Lynette about Chris Dawson pushing her face into the mud during an argument near the pool of the Bayview house (above) before its surrounds had been paved
Prosecutors allege Chris Dawson murdered his wife Lynette (above, the couple together) after 11 years of marriage to clear the way for his relationship with schoolgirl babysitter JC
A woman who had been married to the accused’s older brother, Peter, told the trial on Friday about how her own mother had left behind her three children back in 1960.
Lynelle Elizabeth Dawson had been married to Peter Dawson, four years older than Chris Dawson and his twin brother Paul, until their 1980 divorce.
Lynelle, who had known and been fond of Lynette Dawson, and was still close to Chris Dawson, said her mother – whose maiden name was Marcia Botham – had come to speak with her when she was just nine years old.
Lynelle had a six-year-old brother and a sister, 4, and on October 17, 1960 had taken her into the back yard for ‘a little chat’ and told her ‘Lynelle I don’t want to go’ to which the girl had replied, ‘Mum, don’t go’.
Lynette Dawson with one of her daughters at the Bayview property after the house was built but before the swimming pool had been installed
But Marcia had left the family’s Beverley Hills home and moved to a boarding house in another southern Sydney suburb, 7km away, where Lynelle had visited her.
On the last visit, Lynelle had taken a blue bus on her tenth birthday to meet Marcia, who gave her gifts and bought her a milkshake, before seeing her back on the bus home.
Lynelle next received ‘a little letter’ in which Marcia said she couldn’t see her daughter for their next planned weekend visit and when her father Phillip Hatter rang the boarding house, he’d was told Marcia had already left.
No-one in the family ever saw Marcia again.
Mr Hatter made efforts to find his wife, putting ads in the newspaper, and his sister moved in to look after the three children, Auntie Norma becoming ‘a replacement mum who was loved by everybody’.
The former wife of Peter Dawson (pictured above with his accused brother Chris) told the court about how her own mother had abandoned her family and run off to New Zealand
Lyn Dawson (left, on her wedding day) was ‘under the swimming pool’ police claimed to a neighbour, while Chris Dawson’s (right) former sister-in-law said she did not believe he was capable of murdering or harming Lynette
Lynelle said Peter Dawson became aware of the story when they became a couple and, subsequently so did the Dawson family, including Chris and Lynette.
She said her father and her aunt ‘never stopped looking’, but had both since died and in 2018 Lynelle decided to conduct her own search and ‘bingo’ within ten days she had an answer.
‘I couldn’t believe it,’ she said, describing a death certificate arriving in the mail in the name of Marcia Sanders who had the same birth date as her mother, and which recorded the maiden name Marcia Botham.
The document indicated her mother had since been married twice but Lynelle said, her voice cracking as she testified in the court , ‘on her death certificate there’s no children, no children, that speaks for herself what a person can do’.
A woman once married to Chris Dawson’s older brother said both Chris and Lyn (above) knew the story of how about own mother had abandoned her three children and never saw them again
Under cross-examination by Chris Dawson’s barrister Pauline David, Lynnelle said that she did not believe he was capable of throttling or murdering Lynette, or calling her ‘fatso’ or’ a bitch’.
‘I thought I was Chris Dawson was kind, caring, a team player. I think (Lyn) was a good mother and a caring mother,’ Lynelle Dawson said.
On Christmas Day 1981, when Chris Dawson missed the family celebration because he was sleeping with schoolgirl babysitter JC at his twin brother’s place, Lynelle Dawson notice Lynette was ‘trying to be normal … was vague and a little bit disoriented and I could see she was stressed’.
The trial will resume on Tuesday.