Elva McBay said on Tuesday she thought she caught a glimpse of Lynette Dawson alive and well at a royal parade in Sydney in March 1983.
Dawson, 71, has pleaded not guilty to his wife’s murder and is this week facing a committal hearing in the Downing Centre Local Court.
Lynette Dawson disappeared from her family’s home at Bayview on Sydney’s northern beaches on January 9, 1982 and was the subject of the popular Teacher’s Pet podcast which sparked international interest in the case.
Mrs McBay told the court via audiovisual link from Wyong Local Court she was a lifelong fan of the Newtown rugby league club, for which Dawson and his twin brother Paul played in the 1970s.
She became friends with Paul when they both worked at Kogarah High School in the 1970s, was a frequent visitor to the Dawson brothers’ houses and was very familiar with Lynette.
Mrs McBay said she was waiting in line outside Sydney Hospital to meet Prince Charles and Princess Diana on March 28, 1983, when she believes she saw Lynette Dawson run across Macquarie Street.
She said a woman approximately six to eight people down the line ducked under the barricade and ran in front of a police motorcade escorting the royal couple to an appearance at the Sydney Opera House.
“I saw her face for a few seconds as she ran straight across in front of the motorbikes … It was terribly dangerous. She could have been badly injured,” Mrs McBay said.
“And you said, ‘I think that was Lyn Dawson’,” Dawson’s defence barrister Phillip Boulten SC said.
Mrs McBay replied, “I did think that.”
She had also received a photograph from one of the Dawson twins of a scene from television program Antiques Roadshow which purported to show Lynette alive.
“I thought it looked very, very much like Lyn,” Mrs McBay said. Mrs McBay gave a glowing personal reference to Dawson, describing him as “very quiet, very placid” and a “wonderful husband”.
She said she never saw him display any violent tendencies, not even on the rugby league field. “He was not aggressive enough. He was too quiet on the field,” Mrs McBay said.
Mrs McBay also testified she attended a children’s birthday party at Chris Dawson’s house in July 1981 and was told by Lynette that she had been involved in an “awful row” with a teenage student of Mr Dawson’s who had moved into their home to help with babysitting.
“She said ‘I’ve had the most dreadful row with (the teenager) this morning. Dreadful row. She said, ‘she wants to get rid of me’,” Mrs McBay said. “I said, ‘Oh, Lyn, you can’t be hurt like this, you should get her out of the house before she causes any more trouble.’ She said, ‘My mother said exactly the same thing.’”
When Mr Boulten suggested the teenager had threatened to kill Lynette, Mrs McBay said she didn’t recall being told that.
She said she was told by Lynette that the teenager wanted to “get rid” of her but she wasn’t sure exactly what it meant.