The last photograph of Lynette Dawson taken just weeks before she vanished has been revealed in court.
Chris Dawson, 73, is standing trial in the NSW Supreme Court accused of murdering his wife, who disappeared in January 1982, aged 33.
The Crown claims then-high school teacher Chris Dawson killed Lynette and disposed of her body because of his affair with one of his students, known as JC.
Dawson’s legal team has argued at the trial that he might have failed his wife as a husband, but he did not kill her.
Precious family photos that were taken shortly before Lynette vanished from Sydney’s Northern Beaches 40 years ago were shown in court on Tuesday, The Australian reported.
The last photo of Lynette Dawson (pictured with arms folded near centre) before she disappeared in January 1982 was shown to court on Wednesday
One image from Christmas 1981 shows the mother-of-two at a festive celebration, standing with her arms folded.
On it, her heartbroken mother Helena Simms’ wrote: ‘The last photo of my Lyn’.
On Tuesday, Crown prosecutor Craig Everson read dairy entries, penned by Mrs Simms, to the court detailing conversations with her daughter in the months leading up to her disappearance.
In one diary extract from January 6 in 1981, Ms Simms recounted a Christmas party at her house attended by Mr and Ms Dawson.
The court heard that the entry read: ‘Chris said again “I only want to look after my two little girls!” I said “what about Lyn?” He said: “she’s in the kitchen where she belongs”.’
Another diary entry read to the court Ms Simms note that ‘Lyn wants Chris to see a doctor to see what is making him so angry.’
A third entry read to the court – a year after Ms Dawson, 33, disappeared in January of 1982 – said Mr Dawson came to her house to drop off Lynette’s belongings in ten black garbage bags.
Another family photo provided to court shows Chris and Lynette in 1979
Helena Simms, (pictured left) the mother of alleged murder victim Lynette Dawson, kept a diary documenting the mistreatment of her daughter at the hands of her husband Chris Dawson
The former Newtown Jets rugby league player and high school teacher was reportedly ‘sick’ of having the bags in his study and had packed items such as Ms Dawson’s gardening gloves, nursing uniform and badge and a garter that she wore on their wedding day, the court heard that an entry read.
Also on Tuesday, the court heard Ms Dawson was greatly distressed before she vanished after becoming ‘cowered’ by her husband.
Ms Dawson’s sister Patricia Jenkins testified at the trial on Tuesday and told the court her sister ‘didn’t know what the future was going to be’.
The court heard that Ms Dawson initially appeared to have a happy marriage, but by 1981 there were tensions in the Bayview home about the presence of JC, a high school student babysitter who Mr Dawson was reportedly dating.
It was told tensions eased when Mr Dawson left the family in late 1981 but that Ms Dawson had little money and ‘didn’t know what the future was going to be’.
‘She was in great distress, I could tell by her voice,’ Ms Jenkins said.
Alleged murder victim Lynette Dawson was greatly distressed according to her sister Patricia Jenkins (pictured) before she vanished in January of 1982 from Sydney’s northern beaches
Chris Dawson a former Newtown Jets rugby league player and high school teacher, has pleaded not guilty to murdering mother-of-two Lynette Dawson (pictured, the couple together)
She agreed Ms Dawson was intelligent, made independent decisions and stood up to people, but said ‘I think she was cowered’ by Mr Dawson by 1981.
Quizzed in court over whether Ms Dawson could have needed a break from what was going on in the household, her sister conceded it was a remote possibility.
‘There’s always that little bit of hope you’re going to find her,’ she said.
Earlier, Ms Jenkins in her evidence became emotional, but declined a break in proceedings, when recalling a conversation with her sister a day or two before Christmas 1981 in which she was told that Mr Dawson had left the family.
The witness said Ms Dawson told her she came home to find a note on the bed from Mr Dawson that said: ‘Don’t paint too dark a picture of me to the girls’.
She said her sister told her Mr Dawson’s clothes and pillow were gone and that ‘she didn’t know if Chris was coming home again or not’, causing her to be upset.
Ms Dawson told her she later said to the girls their father had gone on holiday and gave each of them a kiss and said it was from him, Ms Jenkins told the court.
She also testified her sister told her she was worried about Mr Dawson’s health due to him being angry at her, and thought there may be a physical cause.
Ms Jenkins said she spoke of her husband’s ‘black eyes flashing’, trying to give him a hug but being pushed away, and him giving her ‘such a dirty look’.
The Crown claims Mr Dawson, now 73, killed his wife and disposed of her body because of an affair with one of his students, known as JC
The last time Ms Jenkins talked to her sister was on New Year’s Day 1982 when Ms Dawson told her of a ‘sad Christmas’ and a yacht party that Mr Dawson attended.
‘I’ve not seen her since then, not heard from her since then,’ Ms Jenkins said.
Also on Tuesday, Ms Jenkins conceded listening to the The Teacher’s Pet podcast and meeting with its creator Hedley Thomas.
‘It was very overwhelming to listen to it,’ Ms Jenkins said.
On Monday, the trial heard from Julie Andrew, a friend and neighbour of the alleged victim, who testified she saw Mr Dawson standing over his crying wife, screaming at her and shaking her shoulders in their backyard in late 1981 – weeks before she disappeared.
The judge-alone trial continues.