Australia

Chris Dawson: Husband charged with murder in podcast mystery

Chris Dawson arrives at Sydney police station in a police car Image copyright EPA
Image caption Chris Dawson has been charged with murdering his wife who vanished in 1982

Australian police have charged Chris Dawson with the murder of his wife, whose disappearance in 1982 has been featured in a popular crime podcast.

The 70-year-old arrived in Sydney to a media throng on Thursday after being extradited from Queensland.

Mr Dawson has previously denied killing Lynette Dawson, the mother of his two children, saying she abandoned the family for a religious group.

A podcast, The Teacher's Pet, has brought global attention to the case.

Mr Dawson appeared in Sydney's Central Local Court via video link on Thursday, where he was denied bail.

His lawyer said he would make a formal bail application at a later date.

Police arrested the former high school teacher on Wednesday, following a three-year reinvestigation into the case.

Image copyright SUPPLIED
Image caption Lynette Dawson was 33 when she disappeared in 1982

Mrs Dawson's family told local media they felt "absolute massive relief" over the arrest.

No trace of Mrs Dawson has ever been found since she vanished from her Sydney home 36 years ago.

Two separate inquests since then concluded that she was killed by a "known person".

One inquest in 2003 found that her husband had sexual relationships with teenage students during his marriage.

However, prosecutors had previously said there was insufficient evidence to lay charges.

On Wednesday, New South Wales police said a reinvestigation had led to the arrest.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Chris Dawson (centre) was extradited to Sydney on Thursday to face court

Supt Scott Cook said new evidence including witness statements, had helped investigators "tie pieces of the puzzle together".

Australian media reported that some of the testimony came from one of Mr Dawson's former schoolgirl lovers.

The 16-year-old girl had moved into the family home days after Mrs Dawson's disappearance. The pair later married, but have since separated.

The case has attracted intense interest in Australia and internationally, largely as a result of The Teacher's Pet podcast.

The series, produced by The Australian newspaper, has attracted more than 27 million listeners since its debut in May.

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