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Chris Dawson: Husband at centre of podcast mystery after wife vanished in 1982 arrested

A former teacher has been charged with murdering his wife after a popular podcast uncovered a decades-old crime mystery.

Chris Dawson was arrested in Queensland, Australia, on Wednesday over the killing of mum-of-two Lynette Dawson in 1982.

Australia has been gripped by details revealed in The Teacher’s Pet, an audio series which delves into the pair’s troubled marriage and scrutinises the inadequate police response to Lynette’s disappearance.

It is claimed Dawson engaged in sexual relationships with students at Cromer High School where he worked, and moved a 16-year-old girl into their family home, just days after Lyn went missing.

Dawson, who was a successful Rugby League player in Australia in the 1970s, has always denied involvement in his wife’s disappearance.

The 70-year-old denies murdering Lynette and claims she abandoned the family’s Sydney home in order to join a religious group.

But new evidence, including diaries from a Sydney North Beaches schoolgirl, has helped investigators "tie pieces of of the puzzle together".

Mum-of-two Lynette Dawson went missing in 1982 from her home in Sydney

16-year-old Joanne Curtis who moved Chris Dawson’s family home

The subsequent publicity has prompted authorities to start a new investigation into her unsolved disappearance.

No trace of her has ever been found, but two separate inquests have found that she was killed by a "known person".

It was also alleged that there was widespread sexual misconduct between teachers and students at Cromer High School where Lynette worked.

The podcast also focuses on 16-year-old Joanne Curtis, who moved into the family home three days after Mr Dawson’s disappearance

Curtis, now 54, has apparently agreed to testify against her former lover.

The two were previously married but separated in the 1990s after having a child together.

Joanne Curtis alongside Chris Dawson

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The Australian newspaper also reported diaries kept by a schoolgirl from Sydney’s Northern Beaches would form part of the case against Dawson.

Family members say they were happy when news of Mr. Dawson’s arrest broke on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the family says they feel "absolute massive relief".

The couple’s older daughter Shanelle had tried to brace herself and was “coping” with her father’s arrest over the murder

“She was trying to prepare herself but nothing prepares you for this,” one person close to her said.

Chris Dawson was extradited to Sydney after his arrest

“It is a happy day and a sad one. People have to remember that as well.”

The daughter of Mr Dawson and Ms Curtis, Kristen Dawson, told the Daily Mail: “It’s a really hard time for us at the moment”

Babysitter Bev McNally told The Manly Daily the arrest “feels surreal”.

“It is a happy day and a sad one. People have to remember that as well.”

Lyn’s brother Gregg Simms said he was “quite emotional” over his brother-in-law’s arrest.

“We’ve had a cry, we’ve cuddled, we’re just completely over the moon that something has finally happened,” he told local media.

“I’m shaking,” nephew David Jenkins wrote on Twitter.

“There is a long road in front of us in bringing Lyn home, but this is a big step.”

He has previously denied murder

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The 70-year-old appeared at Sydney’s Central Local Court via video link on Thursday where he was denied bail.

His lawyers say Mr Dawson will make another formal application for bail at another date in the future.

Earlier, he showed no emotion when he appeared at Southport Magistrate Court following his initial charge.

Wearing a crumpled khaki T-shirt and green shorts, he sat quietly in the dock with his head bowed, only occasionally looking up at Magistrate Dennis Kinsella.

He had his head in his hands as a magistrate read out the police case, including allegations of domestic violence against his wife.

New South Wales police commissioner Mick Fuller has recently apologised for police failings on the case.

The police chief said: "What is important to me was justice for Lynette Dawson and her family, and today is an important step forward in that."

The Teacher’s Pet, which is produced by The Australian newspaper, has attracted more than 27 million listeners since its release in May.

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