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Four words that slammed Chris Dawson

Those were four little words scribbled in pen on a girl’s report card at school in Northern Beaches, Sydney, more than 40 years ago.

“It’s an honor to teach,” Chris Dawson wrote in perfect cursive.

This week, they’re back to haunt and denounce the convicted murderer and now sex offender.

In 1980, Dawson was a rock star at his school teaching physical education.

A charismatic and good-looking former back row player for the Newtown Jets, he works as a model and was recently accused in court of being a mascot for Chesty Bonds.

That year, he was frequently spotted in the schoolyard with a young girl who was a student in an 11th grade sports coaching class.

The girl had a troubled home life–her stepfather was alcoholic and violent–but Dawson became her best friend, a positive male figure in her life, and someone she could confide in.

camera iconChris Dawson is due for a sentencing hearing in September. NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw. credit: News Corp Australia

But the woman (known only as AB) says Dawson was “grooming” her by that stage.

On Wednesday, Dawson was found guilty of having illicit sex with a girl who was just 16 in the late 1980s.

Following a two-week district court trial that ended earlier this month, Judge Sarah Huggett found him guilty of one count of sexual knowledge.

Over the past 40 years, much evidence has been lost and memory of the event has become incomplete.

But Judge Haggett accepted AB’s evidence. She said that at some point in the late 1980s, when she was just 16, she had sex with him at his parents’ house in Maroubra.

Dawson claimed the sexual relationship began the following year, in 1981, when she was in 12th grade.

Judge Haggett, however, held that AB’s allegations were supported by “a large body of independent” evidence.

These are jigsaw pieces.

A copy of football player Chris Dawson during the Rugby League match between Newtown and Penrith
camera iconChris Dawson playing for the Newtown Jets. credit: News Corp Australia

trolley boy

A man who worked at the same supermarket as AB as a teenager testified in court that Dawson threatened him in a dark parking lot.

The man told the court that he had a crush on her at the time and asked her out on several dates.

He was on duty Saturday morning when Dawson approached him while he was retrieving a dolly from the parking lot.

He said Dawson emerged “from the shadows” and retreated toward a concrete ramp.

It took him “a minute” to figure out who it was, but he said he was being coached by Dawson’s brother Paul and had seen the Newtown Jets and recognized him.

“He was pushing my chest, but I would say he was pushing threateningly, not very aggressively.

“Then he carried me against the wall, around my chest and down my throat, where he pushed and hugged me instead of strangling me.

“He was a very big man. Both of the Dawson brothers looked like Chesty Bond, very muscular and blond, as we used to describe them at the time.”

He said Dawson warned him with words to the effect of “stay away from her, don’t get near her.”

“I said: ‘Who?’

“He said: ‘(AB)’ …and suddenly the pieces fell together.”

When asked about the timing of the event, he replied that it happened in 1980. The same year that AB claims to have had sex with Dawson for the first time.

He said he didn’t have a learner’s permit or a car at that stage, so he was able to decide the year.

Undated copy photo of Chris Dawson and his wedding Lynette (Lynette) Joy  (née Sims??) - Lynette went missing in 1982 and was 34 years old at the time. An autopsy identified Chris as a murder suspect.crime queensland wedding headshots
camera iconChris Dawson was convicted last year of murdering his wife, Lynette Sims. credit: News Corp Australia
Chris Dawson was found guilty of sexual knowledge charges. Vincent de Gouw/NCA NewsWire
camera iconChris Dawson was found guilty of sexual knowledge charges. Vincent de Gouw/NCA NewsWire credit: Supplied


Judge Huggett also pointed to evidence from AB’s schoolmates that Dawson and AB were often seen together around the school playground.

One eyewitness said AB was like Dawson’s “sidekick.”

One of AB’s former schoolmates said that around the early 1980s, he noticed that his friends had started disappearing during breaks and lunch and had met in the office.

She said she often went to Mr. Dawson’s office with friends, knocking on the door and asking Mr. AB to come out.

“Once I opened the door, I saw her sitting on his lap,” the woman said.

Another woman told the court that one day in 1980, when she was in 9th grade, she walked into the staff room and saw AB and Dawson together.

“(AB) was sitting at a desk with Chris Dawson standing between her legs,” the woman said.

A card given to AB by Chris Dawson for Christmas 1980.
camera iconA card given to AB by Chris Dawson for Christmas 1980. credit: Supplied


Judge Haggett said some of the most compelling evidence was a series of cards and notes passed by Mr. Dawson to Mr. AB.

AB said he kept them in his bag while she was in class and gave them to her on special occasions.

The card, dated Christmas 1980, said “once or twice a minute” and was signed “God”.

AB said in court that the reference to “God” was an attempt to disguise herself because she knew she was 16.

Chris Dawson sent AB a 17th birthday card in which he promised to
camera iconChris Dawson sent AB a 17th birthday card in which he promised to “share future birthdays with everyone.” Provided. credit: Supplied

In another card, dated 1981, Dawson wrote, “To the most beautiful girl in the world on her 17th birthday, with love, knowing that I will share all the birthdays ahead.”

Judge Haggett called them “strong evidence supporting and consistent with the timeline of events described by plaintiffs.”

She added that their relationship was developing at that stage and “completely contradicts” Dawson’s claims that they did not become sexual until the following year.

She said the stage proved that Dawson was “a mature man and confident in a mutually beneficial and lasting relationship”.

In a comment on AB's 1980 report card, Chris Dawson called her "joy of teaching". Provided.
camera iconIn a comment on AB’s 1980 report card, Chris Dawson describes her as “a pleasure to teach”. Provided. credit: Supplied

joy of teaching

The court also read an excerpt from an 11th grade report card that Ms. Dawson described as “fun to teach.”

“(AB) did a good job in class and made a valuable contribution in discussions. He has a very pleasant personality and is a pleasure to teach,” Dawson wrote on his report card.

In evidence, AB argued that “the joy of teaching” was a double intent referring to sexual activity

“He said he was teaching me about the lessons I learned from sex,” AB said.

“He thought it very wise to put it on the public record.”

Dawson’s attorney, Clare Wasley, disputed during the trial that the term had a double meaning.

But Judge Haggett said the reference to sex was “plausible enough.”

Chris Dawson
camera iconLynette Dawson’s nephew David Jenkins outside court Wednesday. NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper. credit: News Corp Australia

what is now

Judge Haggett found AB to be “a thoughtful witness who presented the evidence in a matter-of-fact manner.”

She found that some of the evidence was inaccurate, but said AB had no intention of misleading the court or lying.

During the trial, Mr. Dawson remained silent.

Just as he did not give evidence in the murder trial, he chose not to testify in the case concerning carnal knowledge.

The court heard nothing from him other than saying “Yes, sir” several times while watching on video link from Long Bay Prison, where he attended most of the trial.

The only exception was after he was convicted on Wednesday.

“Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit,” he muttered to himself as he rose to leave his cell.

Dawson was sentenced last year to 24 years in prison (18 years without parole) for the murder of his wife, Lynette Sims, and was already said to die in prison.

Outside the courtroom, Lynette’s nephew David Jenkins told reporters he wished AB all the best in life.

“I don’t know about AB,” Jenkins said.

“So I don’t know how she will react. I hope this helps her heal and get over what she’s been through all these years.”

Dawson is scheduled to appear in a sentencing hearing in September, and both the prosecution and defense will submit their opinions to Judge Haggett on his sentencing.

https://thewest.com.au/news/the-four-words-that-condemned-chris-dawson-c-11156312 Four words that slammed Chris Dawson

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