Bad food, cockroaches and sometimes even rats: Inside Chris Dawson’s first night behind bars

Former NRL player and teacher Chris Dawson has swapped his Gold Coast home for a Sydney jail cell after being convicted of the murder of his wife Lyn more than forty years ago. 

Dawson was handcuffed inside the NSW Supreme Court in Sydney on Tuesday afternoon by two corrections officers and taken from the chamber where his family began to cry and protest, and down into the cells beneath the Queen’s Square complex.

Still dressed in his smart navy suit, lilac and navy striped tie and immaculate white shirt, the 74-year-old limped as he was firmly guided across the courtroom with his shackled arms outstretched in front of him at an awkward angle.

His identical twin brother, Paul, yelled out ‘bulls**t’ and protested that he had never been called as a witness during the 10-week long trial for the murder of Lynette Dawson in 1982. 

Chris, who did not look like a willing prisoner, spent the night in the bottom of Surry Hills police station in the relative luxury of a ‘one-out’ (single) cell but in a custodial area that is known for its bad food, cockroaches and sometimes even rats.

Chris Dawson (pictured arriving to court to the Supreme Court of NSW) spent his first night in the squalid cells beneath Surry Hills police centre on Tuesday

Chris Dawson (pictured arriving to court to the Supreme Court of NSW) spent his first night in the squalid cells beneath Surry Hills police centre on Tuesday

His identical twin brother, Paul (pictured left with their older brother Peter) yelled out'bulls**t' when the verdict was delivered and protested that he had never been called as a witness

His identical twin brother, Paul (pictured left with their older brother Peter) yelled out ‘bulls**t’ when the verdict was delivered and protested that he had never been called as a witness

While inmates complain about the food in the state’s prisons as being ‘tasteless’, it is gourmet fare compared to what prisoners are reportedly fed at Surry Hills.

This morning, Dawson will be transferred to a Sydney prison, perhaps along with other prisoners locked up overnight from the previous day’s proceedings in courts across the city’s CBD.

These will include prisoners remanded without bail, or convicted like Dawson, and loaded for transport into a white van, which has metal interior walls with fastening points for handcuffs.

The future prison inmates and Dawson – who already has a prison number – will be taken to an induction jail, most likely Parklea Correctional Centre near Blacktown in western Sydney.

Dawson has been in custody previously, at the vast Silverwater correctional complex’s Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre four years ago.

Dawson (pictured arriving to court on Tuesday) spent the night in the relative luxury of a'one-out' (single) cell

Dawson (pictured arriving to court on Tuesday) spent the night in the relative luxury of a ‘one-out’ (single) cell

Dawson ¿ who already has a prison number ¿ will be taken to an induction jail, most likely Parklea Correctional Centre near Blacktown in western Sydney (pictured)

Dawson – who already has a prison number – will be taken to an induction jail, most likely Parklea Correctional Centre near Blacktown in western Sydney (pictured)

Dawson has been in custody previously, at the vast Silverwater correctional complex's Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre (pictured, Parklea correctional centre)

Dawson has been in custody previously, at the vast Silverwater correctional complex’s Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre (pictured, Parklea correctional centre)

He spent just under three weeks there, after his 2018 arrest and charge for Lynette Dawson’s murder, for which he has just been found guilty.

On that occasion, Dawson was released on bail and returned to his Sunshine Coast home in Queensland, where he lived with his third wife, Sue.

This week, Dawson, with his Master Index Number, or MIN stamped on his prison papers, will be ferried to the holding cells at Parklea for his induction.

There, he will be strip searched by prison officers wearing surgical gloves and will be asked to swap his suit, tie, shirt and shoes for a set of prison greens. 

This week, Dawson, (pictured with Lynette) with his Master Index Number, or MIN stamped on his prison papers, will be ferried to the holding cells at Parklea for his induction

This week, Dawson, (pictured with Lynette) with his Master Index Number, or MIN stamped on his prison papers, will be ferried to the holding cells at Parklea for his induction

Justice Ian Harrison found it was beyond reasonable doubt that Lynette Dawson (above with Chris Dawson on her wedding day) did not leave her home in Bayview voluntarily

Justice Ian Harrison found it was beyond reasonable doubt that Lynette Dawson (above with Chris Dawson on her wedding day) did not leave her home in Bayview voluntarily

Lynette Dawson (above with Shanelle) had found it hard to conceive and doted on her two daughters to Chris Dawson, who were four and two when she vanished in 1982

Lynette Dawson (above with Shanelle) had found it hard to conceive and doted on her two daughters to Chris Dawson, who were four and two when she vanished in 1982

Dawson’s new clothing will comprise of bottle green track pants and top, t-shirt, and underpants in the same dark green knit fabric, all made by inmates at Cooma jail and other facilities.

He will be photographed for his prison mug shot and given a medical and psychological examination, where health staff will assess whether he is a suicide or self-harm risk, and evaluate the needs of any ongoing physical health problems.

During the 10-week murder trial which culminated in Dawson’s conviction, and in other legal proceedings, he has complained of a fractured hip and of a possible brain injury from his years of playing football.

Dawson will be then taken up through the corridors of Parklea – home to around 1500 prisoners – and placed in a cell with an open metal toilet and shower.

Paul and Peter Dawson were seen scuffling with the mob of reporters and photographers as the pair left court moments after their brother was found guilty

Paul and Peter Dawson were seen scuffling with the mob of reporters and photographers as the pair left court moments after their brother was found guilty

Lyn Dawson's sister-in-law Merilyn and brother Greg Simms arrive in her favourite colour of pink at the court on Tuesday

Lyn Dawson’s sister-in-law Merilyn and brother Greg Simms arrive in her favourite colour of pink at the court on Tuesday

For the immediate future he will likely be a ‘one out’ inmate – that is on his own in the cell – unless it is deemed he needs company.

The cell may be on the protection wing, for inmates who are vulnerable to others because of their notoriety, or any mental health issues, including a fresh custody’s fearful prospect of many years in jail to come.

No sentencing date was set by Justice Ian Harrison when he pronounced Dawson guilty in court, but he could reasonably expect a lengthy term for murdering his wife and may die in jail.

If Dawson is considered a suicide risk, he could be placed in an area where the cells have transparent front doors, so that prison officer may regularly inspect them for signs of self harm.

Murderer Chris Dawson (above) at his Sunshine Coast home on Sunday before he flew to Sydney to face the judge's verdict of his guilt or innocence in the murder of his first wife, Lynette

Murderer Chris Dawson (above) at his Sunshine Coast home on Sunday before he flew to Sydney to face the judge’s verdict of his guilt or innocence in the murder of his first wife, Lynette

Dawson will most likely have been fed a prison dinner while waiting for the van at the Downing Centre, and once processed in jail, be given his breakfast to have in his cell on Wednesday morning.

The meal will consist of slices of bread, milk, jam and cereal in what is known as a ‘breakfast pack’.

As a new inmate, Dawson will undergo further assessments this week, and be given lunches of sandwiches or pasta salads with fruit, to be eaten in his cell.

For dinner, he will be given a ‘cook chill’ meal in a foil tray of – meat and vegetables, or vegetarian – to take into his cell when he is locked up for the night around 3.30pm each afternoon.

He will be allowed visitors, and can speak on the phone with up to six people on a public style telephone used by all inmates.

Each call must be a maximum of six minutes.

Dawson will be allowed to spend around $60 a week on ‘buy-ups’ – items like toiletries, biscuits and packaged food – if the money is placed in his prison bank account.

He will also attend meetings with a classification committee to assess which correctional facility will be most suitable as his ‘jail of sentence’ for his incarceration once Justice Harrison decides on how long Dawson must spend behind bars.

Timeline of events following Lyn Dawson’s disappearance:  

 January 1982 – Lynette ‘Lyn’ Dawson, 33, disappears from her home at Bayview on Sydney’s northern beaches, leaving behind two young daughters. The family’s babysitter, a schoolgirl who can only be identified as JC, moves into the home within days.

February – Chris Dawson, a teacher and former Newtown Jets rugby league player, reports his wife missing some six weeks after he says she disappeared.

2001 – An inquest recommended a ‘known person’ be charged with Mrs Dawson’s murder, but the Director of Public Prosecutions later says the evidence was not tested because no witnesses were called.

2003 – A second inquest calls witnesses and recommends a known person be charged with murder, referring the matter to the DPP. Again, no charges are laid.

2010 – NSW Police announce a $100,000 reward for any information leading to a conviction.

2014 – The reward is doubled to $200,000.

2015 – Strikeforce Scriven is established and the Dawsons’ entire Bayview block is mapped.

April 2018 – Scriven detectives request the DPP review their brief of evidence.

May – The Australian newspaper releases The Teacher’s Pet podcast about Mrs Dawson’s disappearance. It is eventually downloaded 60 million times worldwide.

July – NSW police commissioner Mick Fuller admits police ‘dropped the ball’ in the 1980s investigation.

September – Police dig up the backyard at the Bayview home the couple shared at the time of Mrs Dawson’s disappearance but don’t find remains or any items of interest.

December 5 – Chris Dawson is arrested on the Gold Coast and spends the night in a watch-house.

December 6 – Dressed in a polo shirt, shorts and thongs, the then 70-year-old is extradited to Sydney, where he’s charged with his first wife’s murder and appears in court via video link. His lawyer, Greg Walsh, says he ‘strenuously asserts his innocence’.

December 17 – Dawson is bailed to live back in his Queensland home.

August 8, 2019 – Magistrate Michael Allen warns that some reporting of the case could affect a fair trial, saying: ‘Someone would have to be living in a cave or be naive in the extreme to perhaps ignore the potential for unfairness to a person who receives this level of media scrutiny.’

February 11-13, 2020 – Magistrate Jacqueline Trad hears evidence before committing Dawson to stand trial for murder.

April 3 – Dawson formally pleads not guilty to murder, with his lawyers flagging an application for a permanent stay of proceedings.

September 25 – Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Fullerton grants Dawson only a nine-month halt to allow the ‘unrestrained and clamorous’ public commentary about his wife’s disappearance to abate before his trial.

June 11, 2021 – The Court of Criminal Appeal refuses a permanent halt to proceedings.

April 8, 2022 – The High Court backs the lower courts’ decisions not to permanently halt proceedings.

May 2 – Supreme Court Justice Robert Beech-Jones orders the trial to proceed before a judge alone following an application by Dawson.

May 9-July 11 – The trial is heard by Justice Ian Harrison, with prosecutors alleging Dawson was violent and abusive towards his wife and killed her to have an unfettered relationship with JC. Dawson’s lawyers pointed to various witnesses claiming to have seen Mrs Dawson alive and well after January 1982.

August 30 – Dawson is found guilty of murder.

 Source- AAP

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11162231/Bad-food-cockroaches-rats-Inside-Chris-Dawsons-night-bars.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Bad food, cockroaches and sometimes even rats: Inside Chris Dawson’s first night behind bars

Bradford Betz

WSTPost is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@wstpost.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button