Murderer and former rugby league star Chris Dawson has lost a bid to be freed from prison after the state’s highest court threw out his appeal against his conviction for killing his wife

Murderer and former rugby league star Chris Dawson has lost a bid to be freed from prison after the state’s highest court threw out his appeal against his conviction for killing his wife. 

Now the ex-teacher, who was found to have killed his wife Lynette to be with a teenage student and babysitter, is facing the prospect of dying in jail.

Dawson, 75, on Thursday appeared before the Court of Criminal Appeal when a three-judge panel dismissed his appeal following a three-day hearing in May.

Dawson was jailed in August 2022 for the murder of his wife, Lynette Simms, who vanished without a trace from their Bayview home on Sydney’s northern beaches in January 1982.

In the days after she vanished, Dawson moved his teenage lover – a former student and the family’s babysitter – into his Gilwinga Drive address.

Murderer and former rugby league star Chris Dawson has lost a bid to be freed from prison after the state’s highest court threw out his appeal against his conviction for killing his wife

Murderer and former rugby league star Chris Dawson has lost a bid to be freed from prison after the state’s highest court threw out his appeal against his conviction for killing his wife

Nearly two years ago, Supreme Court Justice Ian Harrison found Dawson killed his wife to have ‘unfettered access’ to the young woman, JC.

In a judgment handed down on Thursday afternoon, Justices Julie Ward, Anthony Payne and Christine Adamson dismissed Dawson’s high-stakes appeal.

After being sentenced to 24 years in prison, with an 18-year non-parole period, Dawson was previously told that he will likely die in jail.

Dawson’s only avenue to be freed before he dies is to take his case to the High Court.

Lynette Simms was last seen on Friday, January 8, 1982 when she spoke to her mother on the phone.

According to Dawson’s version of events, given to police at Beenleigh, south of Brisbane, in January 1991, Dawson claimed he dropped off his wife at a Mona Vale bus stop early on the morning of Saturday January 9.

Lynette Simms disappeared from her Bayview home in January 1982, which she shared with her husband and their two young children

Dawson told detectives that she failed to meet him at the Northbridge Baths, where he worked as a part-time lifeguard.

He had claimed he received a long-distance phone call from Lynette during his shift, saying she needed time away, and had several further phone calls with her in the ensuing days before she ultimately told him she would not be returning to their home.

Crown prosecutors during his 2022 trial, as well as his appeal earlier this year, relied on the fact that Ms Simms never had any contact with any person after January 8, 1982, including her family, friends, colleagues and children.

She was described as a devoted mother and the court heard that she underwent numerous procedures to have children.

Crown prosecutor Brett Hatfield told an appeal hearing earlier this year it was ‘inherently unlikely’ that she would have voluntarily abandoned her family – including her children given her struggles to conceive.

He further said she would not have cut off communication with her parents and her siblings, even if she had left Dawson.

The court heard that in the months leading up to her disappearance, Dawson had made attempts to leave Ms Simms, including just before Christmas 1981, when he attempted to move to Queensland with JC and start a new life

The court heard that in the months leading up to her disappearance, Dawson had made attempts to leave Ms Simms, including just before Christmas 1981, when he attempted to move to Queensland with JC and start a new life 

The court heard that in the months leading up to her disappearance, Dawson had made attempts to leave Ms Simms, including just before Christmas 1981, when he attempted to move to Queensland with JC and start a new life.

During the trial, the court was told that Ms Simms found out about Mr Dawson leaving when she arrived home to find a note on the bed.

The court heard the note read: ‘Don’t paint too dark a picture of me to the girls.’

The court heard that JC and Dawson did not make it to Queensland after she became ill and asked that he turn the car around.

Mr Hatfield argued that Dawson had refused to accept JC’s attempt to break off their relationship before she left to holiday at South West Rocks in early 1982.

JC went to South West Rocks to holiday in a caravan park with family and friends before Dawson travelled north to collect her in January 1982.

The crown prosecutor said Lynette Simms (pictured) would not have ‘voluntarily abandoned the husband she idolised’ and the ‘children she adored’

The court heard that after moving JC into his family home, where she slept in the matrimonial bed, Dawson allowed her to go through Lynette’s clothing and jewellery.

Judge Harrison, who found Dawson guilty, concluded that he was ‘obsessed’ with JC and the prospects of losing her.

Last year, Dawson was also convicted of one count of carnal knowledge after a judge found he engaged in sexual activities with one of his students at a Sydney high school in 1980.

He was sentenced by District Court Judge Sarah Huggett to three years in jail and had one year added onto his non-parole period.

His non-parole period is due to expire in August 2041, by which time he will be 93 years old.

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