‘Get rid of his wife’: What Chris Dawson allegedly said to teammate

One of Chris Dawson’s former Newtown Jets teammates says he no recollection of an alleged incident in which the ex-teacher is claimed to have asked about finding someone to “get rid” of his wife.

Mr Dawson’s trial has entered its closing stages, as the former professional rugby league player fights allegations he murdered his wife Lynette and disposed of her body in January 1982.

One of the previously’s key witnesses, Robert Silkman, has told the court that on a Jets end-of-season trip Gold Coast in October 75, Mr Dawson to the prosecution of him.

Mr Silkman said they were on the return flight to Sydney when Mr Dawson knelt next to him in the aisle and asked: “Did I know anyone who could get rid of his wife”.

The claim has been interested by Mr Dawson’s defence, who have pointed to Mr Silkman’s criminal convictions, accused him of being a serial liar and only being in a $200,000 reward.

Camera IconChris Dawson has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife. NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw Credit: News Corp Australia
Chris Dawson in his playing days with the Newtown Jets.  supplied
Camera IconChris Dawson in his playing days with the Newtown Jets. supplied Credit: supplied

Mr Silkman said that immediately following his conversation with Mr Dawson, he relayed it to clubmate Ray Lee, who was sitting in the seat next to him.

“I said to Ray Lee, ‘You wouldn’t believe what Chris just said to me’,” Mr Silkman told the court last week.

“And he said, ‘What?’ I was laughing and said, ‘He wanted to know if I could get someone to get rid of his wife.’

“I think Ray’s reaction was ‘what?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, he’s gone mad.’”

Mr Lee on Friday corroborated many of Mr Silkman’s recollections of the trip – that they had stayed at the Tiki Village in Surfers Paradise and watched the Muhammad Ali v Joe Frazier “Thrilla In Manilla” fight at a beer garden.

However, he said he could not remember Chris Dawson or his twin brother Paul on the trip.

Nor did he have any recollections of sitting next to Mr Silkman on the plane ride home.

“Do you have any recollection of Chris Dawson on this flight walking down the aisle and approaching Robert Silkman at all,” Mr Dawson’s solicitor, Greg Walsh, asked.

“No, I don’t,” Mr Lee said.

undated copypic of wedding of Chris Dawson &  Lynnette (Lynette) Joy  (nee Simms ??) - Lynnette went missing in 1982 she was 34 - an inquest pointed to Chris as a murder suspect.  crime qld weddings headshot
Camera IconChris and Lynnette Dawson on their wedding day. supplied Credit: News Corp Australia
COURTS Federal / Supreme
Camera IconChris Dawson’s former Newtown Jets teammate, Ray Lee, says he could not remember a key incident on a club end-of-season trip. NewsWire / Monique Harmer Credit: News Corp Australia

Asked if he would have recalled being relayed that conversation, Mr Lee said he probably would have, given its seriousness.

“Yeah, you would think so, depending on what condition I was in … By that, I mean if we had been drinking beer or booze,” Mr Lee said.

He said he had spoken with Mr Silkman about the alleged conversation several times over the last several decades and his friend had asked whether he remembered it.

Camera IconRobert Silkman claims he was by Chris Dawson on a flight from the Gold Coast. NCA NewsWire / David Swift Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr Lee, who was now in his late 60s, told the court that Mr Silkman had raised the issue when they were in their 20s.

He said it had been discussed on several occasions following the publication of the Teacher’s Pet podcast, but that it was first raised “probably” in the 1970s.

The court heard on Friday that the Crown prosecution would close its case on Tuesday or Wednesday next week, with the defense free to then call any witnesses.

The trial continues.


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