Witness backs 1975 allegation about Dawson



An allegation Christopher Michael Dawson asked a fellow rugby league player if he knew someone to get rid of his wife in 1975 was discussed 40 years ago, a judge has been told.

Testifying in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday, Ray Lee said friend Robert Silkman told him about a conversation that allegedly took place on a crowded plane flight from the Gold Coast to Sydney.

Mr Lee, who was born in 1955, could not remember exactly when he discussed the topic with Silkman but said he was in his 20s at the time.

Silkman, who has a number of convictions for theft and one for arson, previously gave evidence of the conversation.

He claims Dawson talked to him whilst kneeling down in the aisle of the plane after the Newtown Jets’ Gold Coast holiday where they had watched Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in the fight billed as the Thrilla in Manila.

While Silkman said Mr Lee was sitting next to him on the plane at the time, Mr Lee said on Friday that he did not remember the purported discussion but that it was brought up at a later time.

Dawson’s solicitor Greg Walsh suggested a conversation in which someone asks about getting rid of their wife would be something one would never forget.

“Yeah, you would think so,” Mr Lee replied.

Dawson, now 73, is accused of murdering his wife Lynette Dawson and disposing of her body in January 1982 so he could have an unfettered relationship with a woman known as JC who was his babysitter and former high school student.

He has pleaded not guilty and denies any involvement in his wife’s disappearance.

Detective Senior Constable Mark O’Reilly met security guard Silkman while they were both working at the Qudos Bank Arena. He told Justice Ian Harrison that in September 2018 Silkman told him about the alleged plane conversation.

He said he had not discussed the topic of a reward for information, which was $200,000 in January 2014, with Silkman at any time.

Silkman has previously been accused by Dawson’s legal counsel of making the story up to receive the reward money.

Mr Lee admitted Silkman was a scallywag but denied suggestions his friend was a “big-noter”, or someone who exaggerates their stories.

Nurse Kerry Stantscheff also gave evidence on Friday of a blonde-haired woman working alongside her at the Rockcastle Hospital in Curl Curl, Sydney in the 1980s.

Ms Stantscheff said the woman looked vaguely familiar but could not confirm whether it was indeed Mrs Dawson.

The Dawsons’ former neighbours Peter and Jill Breese claim they saw Mrs Dawson working at Rockcastle in June 1984.

The hearing continues.


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