What prison life will be like for Teacher’s Pet killer Chris Dawson

A one-time career criminal has explained why wife-killer Christopher Dawson will live a lonely and terrifying life behind bars, with even the 74-year-old’s exercise hour either perilous or isolating for the rest of his life.

Dawson was found guilty of murdering his first wife Lynette Dawson on Tuesday, some 40 years after she first vanished from their home on Sydney’s northern beaches – his trial hearing he killed her so he could be with their teenage babysitter.  

In an insider’s account of life behind bars, former convict Russell Manser said Dawson’s high profile will make him a prime target for extortion as the former rugby league star awaits sentencing in Sydney’s Silverwater prison. 

And it won’t be the fact Dawson killed his wife which will see prisoners turn against him, it’s his relationship with a teenage girl that will attract the wrong kind of attention.

‘He won’t get it easy, those sorts of conditions are going to be real tough on someone like him,’ Manser, who robbed multiple banks in the 1990s before drastically changing his ways, told Daily Mail Australia.

The true crime podcaster said every step of Dawson’s journey inside would be painful.  

Ex-con Russell Manser (pictured right) works in abuse rehabilitation and hosts crime podcast'The Stick Up'. He said Chris Dawson's upcoming stint in Silverwater intake is going to be'real tough'

Ex-con Russell Manser (pictured right) works in abuse rehabilitation and hosts crime podcast ‘The Stick Up’. He said Chris Dawson’s upcoming stint in Silverwater intake is going to be ‘real tough’

Chris Dawson (pictured) was found guilty of the murder of his wife Lynette on Tuesday and has already received jail-house death threats as he awaits sentencing

Chris Dawson (pictured) was found guilty of the murder of his wife Lynette on Tuesday and has already received jail-house death threats as he awaits sentencing

Dawson’s move after court to the Sydney Police Centre in Surry Hills was the first brutal step in a long line of corrections processes to come. 

‘Sydney Police centre in Surry Hills is the lowest of the low, the screws (the security) can be brutal,’ Manser said.

His first night in the station on Tuesday in the ‘one-out’ cell below ground saw his pressed blue suit and lilac tie rubbed up on against a cell infamous for its horrible food, cockroaches and sometimes rats.

After his night at the notorious lockup, Dawson was taken across Sydney from Surry Hills to Silverwater in a police van, which would have ‘smelled like piss’ according to Manser and has metal interior walls with fastening points for handcuffs.

Screening at Silverwater Correctional Complex is ‘rigorous’, Manser said.

‘He’ll be strip searched, he’ll have to get fully naked, lift his b**ls, spread his a***-cheeks.

‘It’ll be humiliating for him, he’d never have experienced that.’ 

Dawson has been taken to Silverwater prison in a transport vehicle that typically'smells like piss' (pictured)

Fellow prisoners are not expected to take kindly to the wife-killer (Dawson left) who slept with his babysitter and killed his first wife Lynette (right)

Dawson has been taken to Silverwater prison in a transport vehicle (pictured, left) that typically ‘smells like piss’. Russell Manser said those in prison are not expected to take kindly to the wife-killer (right, with Lynette) who slept with his children’s babysitter

Manser (pictured with his partner) now runs a support and advocacy group that helps connect survivors of abuse, prisoners, and former prisoners with legal advice and rehabilitation

Manser (pictured with his partner) now runs a support and advocacy group that helps connect survivors of abuse, prisoners, and former prisoners with legal advice and rehabilitation

Dawson then would have undergone a psychological test and have his prison greens tossed at him – a tracksuit and green t-shirt ’10 sizes too big’, Manser said.

The former teacher was also in custody four years ago at the vast Silverwater correctional complex’s Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre, but only spent three weeks there before being released on bail.

He had been charged for his wife’s murder in 2018, but this time – after being convicted of killing her and admitting to having a relationship with a former student – his stay will be different.

Death threats have already flooded in for Dawson with extra attention on his presence in the jail. 

‘Darcy’, the Silverwater reception unit Dawson will be thrown into, has a formidable reputation which Manser said rivals that of prisons in third-world countries like Indonesia.

There, 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. 

Manser (pictured robbing a bank in the 1990s) says other criminals inside wouldn't much care about Dawson's murder charge - instead they'll focus on how he forged a relationship with a teenage girl

Manser (pictured robbing a bank in the 1990s) says other criminals inside wouldn’t much care about Dawson’s murder charge – instead they’ll focus on how he forged a relationship with a teenage girl

This will be the most treacherous step for Dawson, according to the hardened ex-con.

Even though Dawson is likely headed straight for protection, due to the high profile of his case and the nature of his crimes, it might not be enough to save him from other inmates. 

He’ll be in ‘Darcy’ until he’s classified and allocated a unit at a different prison. 

If Dawson does end up in a protected intake unit at Silverwater, Manser believes even other protected prisoners might beat him ‘to make a name for themselves’ in exercise time, or as they hand him his dinner.

‘Not all protected prisoners are paedophiles, some can’t fight, or have huge drug debts, and they’ll all want the notoriety,’ he said.

‘There’ll also be trusted blokes called “sweepers” who hand out the food (to inmates even in protected areas) but one of them might be told (by regular inmates) to just square up the ledger.

‘They also might not, he’ll have to see if he gets lucky.’

Dawson (pictured arriving at court on Wednesday) will receive a welcome reserved for'rock-spiders' when he finishes the intake processes at Silverwater prison, a former inmate has said

Dawson (pictured arriving at court on Wednesday) will receive a welcome reserved for ‘rock-spiders’ when he finishes the intake processes at Silverwater prison, a former inmate has said

Dawson (pictured) began a career as a teacher after hanging up the football boots - before'grooming' one of his students and killing his own wife

Dawson (pictured) began a career as a teacher after hanging up the football boots – before ‘grooming’ one of his students and killing his own wife

Dawson (left with Lynette right) will be'lucky' if trusted prisoners tasked with taking food to the bone yard don't succumb to pressure from other inmates and attack him while in the protective custody area

Dawson (left with Lynette right) will be ‘lucky’ if trusted prisoners tasked with taking food to the bone yard don’t succumb to pressure from other inmates and attack him while in the protective custody area

Dawson will be a special target, but not simply for murdering his wife, covering up the killing and leaving her family haunted by the mystery for 40 years. 

WHO IS EX-CRIMINAL RUSSELL MANSER?

One-time career criminal Russell Manser has spent years in the Australian prison system. 

A difficult teen turned serial bank robber, his early memories from prison are plagued by violence and abuse he was subjected to in incarceration.

His criminal beginnings were as subdued as car-jacking and drug abuse at 15.

But they would go on to include numerous bank robberies, and the theft of luxury vehicles.

Troubling experiences including being thrown in a prison wing with convicted pedophiles at a young age, as gaurds told the sex-offenders to ‘have fun’ followed his early stints in correctional centres.

Behind bars he risked his neck to contribute to a Royal Commission into sexual abuse, with many other inmates beginning to think he was tattling to the police whenever he used the prison phones. 

After a gruelling 23-year stretch in prison, Manser decided he wouldn’t rob another bank, or boost a single car – instead beginning a business guiding trauma survivors. especially those who had suffered in prison. 

He has also since started podcast ‘The Stick Up’ discussing true crime, prison, abuse, and survivorship.

Instead, prisoners’ sense of justice means Dawson is a wanted man for the  relationship he struck up with his 16-year-old babysitter and school pupil, JC.

‘It’s all about the fact he was with one of his students,’ Manser said. 

‘He might be a killer but they won’t give a f***, it’s the relationship with the young girl that’ll get him in trouble.

‘Domestic violence in prison, yeah, they look down on it but you won’t get a hard time for that – but paedophilia? That could get you killed.’

Dawson has already received death threats in his few short days behind bars since he was found guilty on Tuesday, as was revealed at his bail hearing on Thursday.

Even if no one is game enough to follow through, according to Manser a few certainties await Dawson – extortion, stand over men, and relentless bullying. 

‘Some people might look at him as a good extortion target, because people will see that he’s got money, owns a house… that sort of stuff,’ Manser said.

‘He’ll be treated the same as a 25-year-old, he’ll get no exemptions for his age and I dare say he could be a possible target for bullies, stand over men.’

Manser believes it’s likely Dawson will receive a maximum security classification and be carted to one of the forbidding lockups in Lithgow, Goulburn, or Kempsey. 

He said Dawson will end up in protective custody, known as the ‘bone yard’ at whatever prison he ends up in.

‘They’ll have him in non-association, he can’t exercise with anyone, (will have to make) phone calls alone, eat alone.’

That, Manser said, is how the murderer will likely live out the rest of his days – in an icy solitude. 

‘That’s gonna be the hard part. He’ll be alone a lot.’ 

Manser (pictured) has been through the ringer himself, having been abused in a boys' corrective centre and again in multiple prisons across the country - since leaving prison he's made it his mission to assist sexual assault and abuse survivors in prison

Manser (pictured) has been through the ringer himself, having been abused in a boys’ corrective centre and again in multiple prisons across the country – since leaving prison he’s made it his mission to assist sexual assault and abuse survivors in prison

If Dawson is hit with limited movement restrictions, he won’t get to see much sunshine. 

It is difficult to get protected inmates much time in the yard because every other inmate in the prison has to be locked away for them to safely do so.

Manser believes Dawson will die in prison, either in a hospital facility like that of Long Bay Gaol or at the hands of other inmates.

With Dawson’s age and likely sentence length, death in prison could be more a matter of if than when. 

Dawson will be sentenced on November 11, with even a 15-year sentence meaning he’ll most probably die in prison as the murderer is now close to 75 years of age. 

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-11167137/What-prison-life-like-Teachers-Pet-killer-Chris-Dawson.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 What prison life will be like for Teacher’s Pet killer Chris Dawson

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