Lynette Dawson was seen with a large black eye across her face and was scared of her husband finding out she had visitors, a former co-worker and “astral traveller” has said.
Giving evidence in Christopher Dawson’s murder trial on Monday, Judith Solomon said she had bumped into Mrs Dawson and her husband at the Warringah shopping centre in Sydney a few years before she disappeared.
Ms Solomon recounted seeing a “huge, horrible black eye” when Mrs Dawson removed her sunglasses.
“It was going green. It was going across the bridge of her nose into the other eye. It was really, really bad,” she said.
Dawson then jerked on his wife’s arm and asked her why she’d removed her sunglasses, Ms Solomon told the NSW Supreme Court.
She and Mrs Dawson worked together in the 1960s at the Bank of NSW, which is now Westpac. After bumping into each other at the mall, Ms Solomon went to the Dawsons’ house in Bayview.
The visit was quick with Ms Solomon asked to leave before Dawson arrived home. Mrs Dawson purportedly said her husband would be angry if he found out she had visitors.
Ms Solomon said she had a “spiritual connection” with Mrs Dawson, telling the court that the pair had engaged in astral travelling and had flown together around Sydney in a dream-state.
Dawson, now 73, is accused of killing his wife and disposing of her body in January 1982 to have an unfettered relationship with one of his high school students and babysitter, known as JC. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
As well as being a physical education teacher, Dawson played rugby league for the Newtown Jets and was a lifeguard at Northbridge Baths.
Dawson’s barrister Pauline David questioned Ms Solomon’s evidence, saying that Mrs Dawson had a reddened eye and that Dawson did not pull on his wife’s arm as suggested.
She claimed Ms Solomon had transformed her story about an ordinary event into a sinister one because of what she had heard in The Teacher’s Pet podcast, released by Hedley Thomas in 2018 about Mrs Dawson’s disappearance.
In a police interview from 1991, played to court on Monday, Dawson denies allegations he murdered his wife, saying the accusations came about because of a heated custody battle with JC, who he married in 1984 and separated from in 1990.
“The whole purpose of [JC] raising the allegations is to slur my character with an upcoming custody battle which has turned extremely nasty and bitter,” he told Detective Sergeant Paul Mayger.
Claims by JC that he had driven with her somewhere south of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to hire a hitman to get rid of his wife were rejected by Dawson as a “complete and utter fabrication”.
Dawson told the police he had lain awake at night crying his heart out waiting for his wife to call, and that he had still yearned for some contact even after starting his relationship with JC.
One of JC’s co-workers at Coles in 1980 and 1981 also gave evidence, describing an alleged incident where Dawson threatened him in the shopping centre car park.
The witness, known as PS, said he was a high school student at the time he worked with JC and had asked her out a couple of times because she was attractive.
While collecting trolleys outside Coles, PS claims he was confronted by a much larger Dawson who shoved him back against a ramp and ordered him to stay away from JC.
PS said he was shocked and scared, and that he never asked JC out again.
He told the court that 32 years later, he had reluctantly talked to Thomas regarding The Teacher’s Pet podcast after urging from his wife. However, he did not agree with the journalist’s approach.
“I don’t view the salacious nature of this process to be good. It’s a sad situation that someone’s missing,” he said.
The hearing continues.
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