The Teacher’s Pet

Hedley Thomas picture Sam Scoufos.

By Hedley Thomas

If you thought you knew the story of The Teacher’s Pet, get ready to be


Hedley Thomas takes you behind the scenes with a blow-by-blow

account of one of the most intriguing and enduring murder mysteries of

our time – the crime, the podcast investigation, the sexual exploitation

of teenage students, the courtroom drama – and how justice was finally


Lynette Simms disappeared from Sydney’s idyllic northern beaches in

1982 and was never seen again.

Lyn was a caring nurse, loving mother and devoted wife. Her husband

Chris Dawson was a rugby league star, a popular teacher and

exceptionally close to his identical twin brother, Paul.

But this facade of domestic bliss shattered as Chris became infatuated

with the family’s babysitter – his 16-year-old student – a girl he moved

into Lyn’s home and bed just two days after her disappearance.

Thirty-six years later, investigative journalist Hedley Thomas revisited

the story in a record-breaking podcast series that captured the

unconditional support of Lyn’s friends, colleagues, neighbours and

family, and an international audience.

With fresh leads and old evidence resulting in a public groundswell for authorities to take action, Chris was arrested

in late 2018 and after a dramatic trial was found guilty of murder in August 2022.

About the Author

Hedley Thomas is The Australian’s national chief correspondent,

specialising in investigative reporting with an interest in legal issues, the

judiciary, corruption and politics. He has won eight Walkley awards

including two Gold Walkleys; the first in 2007 for his investigations into

the fiasco surrounding the Australian Federal Police investigations of Dr

Mohamed Haneef, and the second in 2018 for his podcast, The Teacher’s

Pet, investigating the 1982 murder of Sydney mother Lynette Dawson.

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