A former high school teacher in Australia was given a sentence of 24 years in prison after being found guilty of the murder of his wife in one of the country’s longest unsolved cases.
Justice Ian Harrison of the New South Wales Supreme Court handed down the sentence on Friday, after finding Chris Dawson guilty of murdering his wife Lynette in 1982 back in August. The crime took place in 1982.
The only judge who heard the case, Harrison, came to the conclusion that Dawson had murdered his wife so that he might begin a new life with a student who was 16 years old at the time and who babysat for the family.
The criminal case served as the impetus for “Teacher’s Pet,” a podcast that was released in 2018 by Australian investigative journalist Hedley Thomas and attracted a devoted audience.
A former high school teacher found guilty of killing his wife in one of Australia's longest cold cases has been sentenced to 24 years in prison. https://t.co/qkBikco9El
— Strawberry NG News (@StrawberryNG) December 2, 2022
The verdict was reached despite the absence of any tangible evidence that could link Dawson to the alleged death of his wife. Nobody has ever managed to track down her remains.
Dawson, who is 74 years old, will not be eligible for early release as long as the body has not been found because of a new statute in the state that states “no body, no parole.” The punishment carries a period of 18 years during which there is no possibility of parole.
The podcast titled “Teacher’s Pet” analyzed the investigation conducted by the police and uncovered new evidence, including testimony that Dawson, a former professional rugby player turned teacher, was having sex with one of his students at the time his wife went missing 40 years ago.
Dawson had entered a not-guilty plea, alleging that his wife had deserted him and their two young children when the kids were just 2 and 4 years old. Dawson’s defense rested on this argument.