Lynette Dawson had a ‘horrendous black eye’ in a chance encounter before disappearing, one of her former colleagues told a court.
One of Lynette Dawson’s former colleagues said she was “horrified” after seeing her with a black eye during a chance encounter before she disappeared, a court has heard.
Chris Dawson, 73, is on trial in the New South Wales Supreme Court charged with the murder of his wife Lynette who disappeared from their home on Sydney’s northern beaches in January 1982.
The former teacher and rugby league player for the Newtown Jets has pleaded not guilty, saying he had no reason to murder his wife and dispose of her body.
Judith Solomon first met Ms Dawson when they both worked at a branch of the Bank of NSW in the eastern suburbs of Sydney before meeting several years later at the Warringah Mall.
Ms Solomon testified that she did not immediately recognize her former co-worker until she took off her sunglasses.
“I could see a huge horrible black eye,” Ms Solomon told the court on Monday.
She added: “I tried to make sure it wasn’t so awful for her.
“I had a black eye once too and I told him about my black eye and we laughed about it…I told him I hit a doorknob.”
According to Ms Solomon, Ms Dawson explained her bruise by saying: ‘She ran into a doorway.’
Ms Solomon told the court that during the meeting she was introduced to Mr Dawson, who was with her.
“I was scared at the time, I felt uneasy,” Ms Solomon said.
“I looked around and saw him pull his arm and say ‘why did you do that?'”
Ms Solomon has denied accusations by Mr Dawson’s lawyer, Pauline David, that her recollection was influenced by the Teacher’s Pet podcast, which investigated the circumstances of Ms Dawson’s disappearance.
Ms Solomon said she was ‘horrified’ and would ‘never forget’ the ‘grim encounter’ at the Warringah Mall.
“It was deep in my head because I was horrified,” Ms Solomon said.
She also denied Ms David’s suggestions that Ms Dawson had ‘redness’ rather than bruising around her eye.
“It was turning green and crossing the bridge of his nose into the other eye,” Ms Solomon said.
“It was really, really bad.”
She said she caught up with Ms Dawson several weeks later but was asked to leave at one point because Ms Dawson said Mr Dawson wouldn’t like him finding a guest in their home.
“She actually said to me, ‘I wish you left soon because my husband won’t like him coming home and there’s someone here,'” Ms Solomon said.
“He wouldn’t be very happy. I said it doesn’t matter because I have to pick up my kids.
Crown prosecutor alleges Mr Dawson was motivated to kill his wife so he could have ‘unfettered access’ to a teenage girl, who can only be known as JC and who was his student and his baby sitter.
The court was told that JC allegedly had sex with Mr Dawson while she resided at her home in Bayview as a live-in babysitter for him and Mrs Dawson.
And she eventually moved in after Ms Dawson disappeared before later marrying.
Another witness told the court he was threatened by Mr Dawson when he worked in a Coles supermarket as a teenager after asking JC out.
The witness said he was 16 when he repeatedly asked JC out; however, she rebuffed his advances.
He said he was collecting trolleys in the Dee Why Coles supermarket car park when he was approached by Mr Dawson.
“It was a dimly lit parking lot, a few bursts of light were coming from outside,” he said.
“I got my cart train back and was walking up the ramp and I heard a voice say ‘hey you’ or something and I turned around and there was a really tall man coming towards me .”
The witness said he recognized the man as Mr. Dawson.
“He pushed me against the concrete ramp… he supported me into this concrete structure and held me against the structure,” he said.
“I remember Mr. Dawson saying words like ‘I just want you to stay away from her’, ‘don’t come near her or whatever’. Words to that effect.
He said he replied “I don’t know what you’re talking about” and was “very scared” but was told Mr Dawson was referring to JC.
He denied suggestions made by Mr Dawson’s lawyer, Greg Walsh, that Mr Dawson had not approached or touched him.
The trial continues.
Originally published as Moment that ‘horrified’ Lynette Dawson’s colleague in chance encounter