Former rugby league player Chris Dawson and his third wife Sue outside their beachfront home in North Queensland in 2001. Picture: Cameron Laird
Former rugby league player Chris Dawson and his third wife Sue outside their beachfront home in North Queensland in 2001. Picture: Cameron Laird

Accused murderer Chris Dawson’s other family

CHRIS Dawson's third wife has stuck with the accused murderer for 28 years.

Sue Dawson is a trained schoolteacher like her husband, who has just been released on bail pending a trial for the alleged 1982 murder of Lynette Joy Dawson.

Chris, 70, is awaiting his release on $1.5m bail from Silverwater Remand Centre in western Sydney to live with his third wife Sue at their Sunshine Coast home.

Part of their lives together has sat under the shadow of accusations, which Chris Dawson denies, that he murdered his first wife.

After meeting in 1990 or shortly thereafter, science teacher Sue and PE teacher Chris lived happily at Yeppoon, near Rockhampton, on Queensland's Capricorn Coast.

There, as Sue taught science at St Brendan's Catholic Boys School, Chris was a teacher at St Ursula's Girls College.

Sue's twin children, Kobi and Jaga, took on the name of Dawson while at school in Yeppoon.

In the small coastal town, which then had a population of about 10,000 people, Chris Dawson's traumatic history was unknown.

Chris Dawson and his third wife Susan in 2001 after the first inquest into Lynnette Dawson’s disappearance.
Chris Dawson and his third wife Susan in 2001 after the first inquest into Lynnette Dawson’s disappearance.

In January 1982, when he was a teacher at Sydney's Cromer High School, his first wife Lynette disappeared from their northern beaches house at Bayview.

Within days, 16-year-old schoolgirl Joanne Curtis had moved in with Chris Dawson as his romantic partner.

Soon afterwards, Chris left Cromer High to teach at Beacon Hill High School.

Ms Curtis lived with Mr Dawson and his two young daughters, Shanelle, 4, and Sherryn, 3, and in January 1984 they married at the Bayview house.

Witnesses to the ceremony were Chris Dawson's identical twin brother Paul and his wife Marilyn, who had previously lived with their three daughters in the same street, Gilwinga Drive.

Paul and Chris Dawson as Coombabah High School teachers in the early 1990s.
Paul and Chris Dawson as Coombabah High School teachers in the early 1990s.

In the same year, Mr Dawson moved his new, young wife and children to the Gold Coast to a newly built home near Dreamworld, a street away from Paul and Marilyn Dawson.

The twin brothers both taught at Coombabah High School near Biggera Waters on the Gold Coast.

Paul and Marilyn's children attended the school, as did Chris' older girls, Shanelle and Sherryn.

Joanne gave birth to their daughter Kristen, but the marriage foundered and in January, 1990, Joanne left and returned to Sydney.

Then PE teacher Chris met science teacher Sue.

Both separated and parents of young children, they moved north to Yeppoon.

Kobi and Jaga took on the name Dawson while at school.
Kobi and Jaga took on the name Dawson while at school.

Sue's twins attended Sacred Heart Primary School and were known by the surname of Dawson.

Graduating to high school, Jaga went to St Brendan's College and Kobi to St Ursula's.

But in 2001, the disappearance of Lyn Dawson became news as an inquest was held, followed by another inquest in 2003.

Both inquests concluded there was one person of interest in Lyn's disappearance and that was Chris Dawson.

The appearance of Joanne Curtis at the second inquest and her evidence about her failed marriage to Chris, sparked an edition of Australian Story on the ABC.

The national publicity of the Lyn Dawson case was followed by the disappearance of Sue and Chris Dawson from Yeppoon.

Joanne Curtis with a young Sherryn (left) and Shanelle Dawson.
Joanne Curtis with a young Sherryn (left) and Shanelle Dawson.

The couple moved to the Sunshine Coast and also have a property on the Gold Coast at Biggera Waters, a 15-minute drive from the home of Paul and Marilyn Dawson.

Sydney magistrate Robert Williams said this week Mr Dawson must live at the Coolum house with his wife Sue while on bail.

Mr Dawson's forthcoming release was granted on condition of a $1.5 million surety drawn from the value of his house and elder brother Peter's home.

Jaga no longer has Dawson as his last name and has reverted to his biological father's surname, but remains friends on Facebook with Chris Dawson's eldest daughter Shanelle.

Kobi, now a mother of two, has taken her husband's surname.

With his release from prison in time for Christmas, Chris Dawson and his wife Sue will now have to wait at least 18 months until a trial, but which may not go ahead until 2021.

A huge brief of evidence is being prepared for the high profile court case at which Chris Dawson's second wife Joanne Curtis is expected to give evidence.

candace.sutton@news.com.au

Paul and Marilyn Dawson were witnesses at Chris Dawson’s second marriage to Joanne Curtis.
Paul and Marilyn Dawson were witnesses at Chris Dawson’s second marriage to Joanne Curtis.
Chris Dawson at Coolum on the Sunshine Coast in May this year.
Chris Dawson at Coolum on the Sunshine Coast in May this year.
Missing Lyn Dawson with daughter Shanelle at her Bayview home in 1978.
Missing Lyn Dawson with daughter Shanelle at her Bayview home in 1978.
Paul Dawson moves items into his daughter’s house at Biggera Waters on the Gold Coast. Picture: Glenn Hunt.
Paul Dawson moves items into his daughter’s house at Biggera Waters on the Gold Coast. Picture: Glenn Hunt.
Chris Dawson at his house in Biggera Waters on the Gold Coast in August. Picture: Glenn Hunt.
Chris Dawson at his house in Biggera Waters on the Gold Coast in August. Picture: Glenn Hunt.
Shanelle Dawson, holding a picture of her missing mum, is friends with the stepchildren from her father’s third marriage. Picture: John Wilson.
Shanelle Dawson, holding a picture of her missing mum, is friends with the stepchildren from her father’s third marriage. Picture: John Wilson.
Chris Dawson with Joanne Curtis, baby Kristen, and his daughters with Lynette.
Chris Dawson with Joanne Curtis, baby Kristen, and his daughters with Lynette.

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