The ex-schoolgirl who married Chris Dawson after he allegedly murdered his wife Lynette has described how she feared for her life after he violently ripped off a G-string she secretly bought.
The woman known as JC said Dawson sold his family home, disposed of his wife Lynette’s clothes and jewellery and moved her and his daughters in December 1984 to a remote property she came to call ‘the compound’.
She was heavily pregnant with her own child, but had married Dawson in January of that year, when JC said, he had first been violent towards her.
JC said that after all the guests had left, Dawson ‘turned to me and grabbed me about the neck with his two hands, I don’t know why’.
The remote property was on three hectares of bushland at Yawalpah near Coomera in Queensland which was then ‘in the middle of nowhere’, surrounded by a chain wire fence which was constantly banged into by kangaroos.
‘I felt like a prisoner there,’ JC told the court, saying she had moved up there heavily pregnant with her daughter and had no neighbours other than Chris Dawson’s twin Paul and his wife, Marilyn.
After giving birth to her own daughter Kristen in January 1985, JC said she felt differently towards Dawson’s daughters with Lynette, Shanelle and Sherryn.
‘I was only allowed to treat them like little princesses and if I did discipline them he would discipline me and they came to realise I had no authority.
When JC brought up the topic of the disappearance of Dawson’s first wife Lyn (above Lyn with Chris) she said to him ‘you got rid of your first wife, you could easily get rid of me’, and he went very still
JC (above with Lynette Dawson’s daughters) said she was expected to treat them like ‘princesses’ but when she took her own daughter to play group, Chris Dawson forbade her to return and cut up her credit card
‘(But) I was consumed by my own child and the love I had for her. Chris Dawson was not happy’ .
After two more years in the compound seeing virtually no-one, JC became worried her daughter ‘had no contact with children her age’ and took her to play group, although Dawson told her ‘not to go’.
After discussing married life with other mothers, and telling Dawson about women who ‘go out shopping by themselves and meet other people’, he ‘forbade me’ from going back and ‘cut up the credit card’.
She said by 1989 she’d made a friend, a woman called Toni Melrose who played Cooee the Gumnut Fairy at Dreamworld which was up the road from her house and the two women had gone to a lingerie party.
‘I purchased this G-string underwear. I probably used cash I’d squirrelled away,’ JC told the court.
‘I brought it home and put on for Chris Dawson and paraded around. He said ‘you are only going to wear it for me’ .
‘I said ‘I’ll just wear it as underwear as I see fit’. He got physically violent at me (saying) ‘you’re not going to wear that for anyone but me’, you don’t have any rights kind of thing, and he ripped it off me.
JC realted how Chris Dawson became enraged when she brought home a secretly purchased a G-string and got physically violent, saying ‘you’re not going to wear that for anyone but me’ and ‘he ripped it off me’
JC said she later met with members of Lyn’s family (Lynette Dawon, above left, with her mother, second right, and Chris, right) and tolde them about his ‘hit man’ plan, after which she went to police
‘I was frightened. Something like that hadn’t happen before.’
That same year, JC said she had consulted a solicitor ‘because as the relationship had deteriorated so badly, I feared for my life basically at that time.’
Chris Dawson had told her about the Yawalpah house they owned jointly that ‘this is all mine, you won’t have anything if you leave me’.
Asked whether the topic of the disappearance of Dawson’s first wife Lyn ever arose, JC said ‘it was never a topic of conversation. I brought it up one time and said ‘you got rid of your first wife, you could easily get rid of me’.
JC said Dawson’s response was to go ‘completely still’ and then say to her ‘don’t say things like that to me’.
She said she left the marriage in 1990, filed for divorce ‘quickly and was granted custody of Kristen.
That same year she met Lynette Dawson’s brother Greg Simms and his wife Merilyn and told them that Dawson had once told her he had contemplated hiring a hit man to kill her, but then changed his mind.
It was after that she had gone to the police to report her suspicions.
Under cross-examination by Pauline David SC, for Chris Dawson, JC denied she had gone ‘out of her way top find time’ to be with Chris Dawson as a schoolgirl or that he had initially had an ‘entirely appropriate teacher-student relationship’ with her.
‘I think his behaviour towards me was inappropriate for a teacher’ and shot back at Ms David’s insistence that it had been in 1980, saying ‘the grooming stage you mean?’
David: ‘You fell in love with Mr Dawson?’.
JC: ‘After he groomed me and abused me and insisted that I marry him.’
David: ‘He fell in love with you and you fell in love with him?’.
JC: ‘Not so much, I was a child’.
Asked if Dawson had ‘developed genuine affection towards you that was not of a sexual nature’, JC insisted it ‘absolutely was’.
Asked by Ms David whether she had a ‘healthy and loving relationship’ with Dawson, she said she’d never had any previous relationship to compare it with.
‘I don’t think I was ever an adult in that relationship. I didn’t make any decisions. They were made for me under threat of violence every day,’ she said.
Asked whether she was making up ‘lies’ to try and destroy Chris Dawson, JC replied, ‘I’m not going to destroy him. He will destroy himself for what he has done to people, to me and to Lyn.’
Cards addressed to ‘Petal’ and ‘Bub’, Dawson’s nicknames for the woman now known as JC, and one is signed by him ‘Love Always God’, the name Dawson used for himself to disguise the fact he was romancing a 16-year-old
In her earlier testimony on Thursday, JC told the court how during her marriage to Dawson she had become his ‘slave and sex slave’.
JC said she had become resentful while aged only 18 at having to care for Dawson’s two daughters, after his wife Lynette Dawson disappeared in January 1982.
She said Dawson himself never brought up subject of his wife’s whereabouts , and that ‘it didn’t come up at all unless I got so cranky and asked when is she coming back, that I was 18, I was taking care of two children, having to learn to cook, to clean, to be the substitute housekeeper, sex slave, stepmother, babysitter, slave, just a slave.’
The court was shown photos of JC wearing Lynette Dawson’s clothes, and photos of her own wedding to Dawson in 1984, which lasted for six years before she left him in 1990.
The court also released cards and notes Dawson left in JC’s schoolbag in the year that the schoolgirl – who was half Dawson’s age – went to live at the family home and swim topless in front of his wife in the family pool.
Cover of a card (left) that Chris Dawson sent to the schoolgirl he called ‘Petal’ inside which he wrote ‘Love Always God’ in romantic notes which sometimes included photos of himself (right)
The secret love messages, released on Thursday by the NSW Supreme Court during the murder trial of former PE teacher and football star Dawson, had been kept for 40 years by JC .
This was despite the fact Dawson told the schoolgirl who became his second wife to destroy them.
The court heard on Thursday that Dawson gave the girl the romantic cards in the same year he drove her in her school uniform over the Sydney Harbour Bridge to a building site and told her afterwards he had planned to hire a hitman to kill his wife.
‘(When he came out) he said ‘I went inside to get a hit man to kill him but then I decided I couldn’t do it because innocent people would be hurt,’ the former schoolgirl, known only as JC said in evidence.
The cards Dawson gave the teen on Valentines Day, her birthday and at Christmas, have greeting card images of romantic couples and proforma greetings like ‘All I need in all my my life is all your love’, ‘I wuv you’ and one is signed off by him with ‘Love always, God’.
They are addressed to ‘Petal’ and ‘Bub’, Dawson’s nicknames for the woman now known as JC, and ‘God’ is the name Dawson used for himself to disguise the fact he was romancing a 16-year-old.
JC said Dawson called her ‘Petal’, himself ‘God’ and pledged they would be together forever at a time when his wife was still alive, but vanished soon afterward
Romantic cards to the teenage schoolgirl who told the court on Thursday that in the same year he drove her in her school uniform over the Sydney Harbour Bridge to a building site and told her afterwards he had planned to hire a hitman to kill his wife
For a 1981 card Dawson addressed the envelope to, ‘The most beautiful girl in the world on her 17th B’day’ and wrote on the card inside under a proforma greeting ‘Happy birthday my little chickadee!’.
The words he hand wrote were ‘To my lovely beautiful Bub. Hoping today is a very happy one and knowing we will share all the birthdays to follow. All my love forever XXX’.
In a 1981 Valentines Day card, he wrote , ‘To my lovely beautiful (JC). The happiness have given me will be with me forever’, and he also enclosed photos of himself.
In a Christmas 1980 card, when JC was aged 16, Dawson allegedly called her by his pet name for her, ‘Petal’ and wrote, ‘Love always, God’ which JC said he often used to disguise his identity in love notes to her, because ‘it was 1980 and I was 16’.
A Happy Valentines Day car from Chris Dawson to the schoolgirl who had turned 17 days earlier an din the same year he moved her into his marital home before his wife Lynette vanished
Dawson told JC his wife Lyn (above with their daughter) had voluntarily left the marital home but JC found her diamond rings and a wardrobe full of her clothing
Other cards have images of naked little girls with voice bubbles saying ‘Without you around to wuv, I go to pot’ and ‘in case I haven’t told you lately, I WUV YOU’ .
Inside the card, Dawson had written ‘all my love forever’.
JC said Dawson had left love notes in her schoolbag while she was at biology class in the year before he allegedly murdered his wife.
Now aged in her late 50s, JC told the court that after the trip to tyhe building site when Dawson mentioned the hit man, she had tried to end their relationship but he had told her he ‘missed me terribly and couldn’t live without me’.
JC said by early January 1982 she had gone off to live with her sister, then stayed with friends at South West Rocks from where she was retrieved by Chris Dawson on January 10 or 11.
‘The only one time he brought up Lyn Dawson, he said Lyn’s gone, she’s not coming back, come back to Sydney and help me look after the children,’ she said.
Chris Dawson is on trial for the alleged murder of his first wife Lynette (above, the couple together) who hasn’t been seen since January 1982
Chris Dawson left love notes like the one above in the schoolbag of JC every time she went to biology class, even though she was a 16-year-old and half his age
JC was taken back to the Dawson family home at Gillwinga Drive and from then ion she slept in Lyn Dawson’s marital bed.
In side the closets in that bedroom were ‘Lyn’s underwear’ and a ‘wardrobe bursting to overflowing’ with her clothes, Lyn’s ‘diamond rings’ and possibly her nursing badge.
In the days and weeks afterwards ‘the clothes were all put in green garbage bags with the view to taking them to her mother’s .. I was allowed to keep anything I wanted, a couple of tops, some pants, I didn’t give it a second thought.
If JC asked where Lyn was he told her ‘she went away with religious people’ but ‘I thought it always was a fob off. It was too hard for me, I was a child, I couldn’t look after two children.
A court has heard how Chris Dawson called a student at his former high school ‘petal’ and that he wooed her with secret love letters left in her schoolbag
Chris Dawson and his wife Lynette married and had two children, but she vanished without trace aged 33 in early 1982 after he had begun an affair with schoolgirl JC
The onetime Cromer High School student on Sydney‘s Northern Beaches had earlier told the court that Dawson, who was then a PE teacher twice her age, had eyed her up ‘in the playground’ from when she was 15.
‘He told me he had seen me in the playground the year before when I was 15 and he’d like to get to know me because he was attracted to me,’ the woman known as JC told the court.
‘I believe he deliberately tried to take my class the following year.’
She said Dawson had put his hand on her leg at a school athletics carnival, had with his twin brother Paul both lied to their wives to to drink with schoolgirls at the local Time and Tide Hotel, and kissed her in the Dee Why car park while giving her driving lessons.
Dawson, 73, is standing trial in the NSW Supreme Court accused of murdering his wife, who disappeared in January 1982, aged 33.
The Crown claims that then-high school teacher Chris Dawson killed Lynette and disposed of her body because of his affair with one of his students, known as JC.
The court heard that Dawson moved the schoolgirl into the home and when his wife (pictured together) fell asleep after he mixed her cocktails, had sex with the teenager in the family home
The swimming pool at the Dawson home where JC swam topless was surrounded by brick tiles and lots of dirt which became muddy after rain and emptied into the pool
Dawson’s legal team has argued at the trial that he might have failed his wife as a husband, but he did not kill her.
JC told the court that in 1980, Dawson had bought the 16-year-old two different schoolbags, in which he left love notes.
‘He used to leave notes of love and affection in may bag when I went to biology,’ JC told the court.
‘When I left the relationship in 1990, he said I should destroy all those notes. I destroyed most of them.’
But she said of ‘the rest’, ‘I kept the originals for 40 years.’
Another family photo provided to court shows Chris and Lynette in 1979
Helena Simms, (pictured left) the mother of alleged murder victim Lynette Dawson, kept a diary documenting the treatment of her daughter at the hands of her husband Chris Dawson
The love letters tendered at the trial included a card Dawson gave JC on her 17th birthday, signed by him ‘Happy Birthday XXX’ and a Happy Valentine’s Day 1981 card.
Asked how that made her feel at the time, JC said, ‘I felt loved’, which was ‘quite different’ to her home life, where her stepfather was physically attacking her mother.
JC told the court she would spend the night at Dawson’s home while she was hired to babysit his children.
Asked what she thought the birthday card meant, JC said she thought it meant ‘that he expected to share every birthday together – that we would be together forever’.
When she was forced out of home after the stepfather hit her, Dawson had offered her a room at his house, and although Lynette ‘was very welcoming’ she soon noticed his cruel taunts to his wife, the court heard.
She said Dawson would ‘sing songs to her that were cruel, put her down, songs with double meanings, maybe it was to impress me … about her unattractiveness’.
She said in one of those songs he called her ‘Fatso … and laughed about it’.
The court heard Dawson made Lynette sleep by giving her alcohol so he could have sex with JC.
‘Chris Dawson would want me to have sex with him … in the bedroom I was designated,’ she said.
JC told the court about how she would swim in the family swimming pool of the Dawson house topless because that ‘was the fashion’ at the time.
She said the pool was immediately surrounded by brick tiling, but the rest of the land around it was ‘just dirt’, which after rain, turned muddy and cascaded dirty water down into the pool.
The Crown claims Mr Dawson, now 73, killed his wife and disposed of her body because of an affair with one of his students, known as JC
JC said in about October 1981, while Dawson was in hospital having nose surgery, Lynette confronted her at home and said, ‘you’ve been taking liberties with my husband’.
Asked what JC thought that meant, she said, ‘she realised there was something more going on than… that we were in a sexual relationship’.
JC said she stayed at the Dawsons’ home where she said Dawson was distant to his wife.
Asked by Mr Everson how many times after that she saw Lynette Dawson, JC replied, ‘Never’.
Precious family photos that were taken shortly before Lynette vanished from Sydney’s Northern Beaches 40 years ago were shown in court on Tuesday, The Australian reported.
One image from Christmas 1981 shows the mother-of-two at a festive celebration, standing with her arms folded.
On it, her heartbroken mother Helena Simms’ wrote: ‘The last photo of my Lyn’.
The judge-alone trial continues.