Joanne Curtis changed after her marriage, her former friend says.
Joanne Curtis changed after her marriage, her former friend says.

Dawson’s lover ‘scared’ after wife vanished

AN EX-CLASSMATE of the woman at the centre of the "Teacher's Pet" case has told how the former schoolgirl was left "damaged" and "scared" by her marriage to Chris Dawson.

The world has been transfixed by the case of missing Sydney woman Lynette Dawson, who abruptly vanished from her Sydney Northern Beaches home almost 40 years ago in January 1982.

The story sparked global interest after it was featured on a podcast called 'The Teacher's Pet', produced by The Australian newspaper.

Chris Dawson with his wife Lynette, who vanished in 1982.
Chris Dawson with his wife Lynette, who vanished in 1982.

Two coronial inquests have found Lyn was killed by a known person, her husband Chris, a former PE teacher at Cromer High.

But no charges have ever been laid against him, with the DPP saying there isn't sufficient evidence.

Lynette Dawson spoke about her marriage on the ABC program Chequerboard.
Lynette Dawson spoke about her marriage on the ABC program Chequerboard.

After his wife's disappearance, Chris Dawson - who has always vehemently maintained his innocence - went on to start a relationship with his former student, Joanne Curtis.

He moved the the then 16-year-old into his marital home just days after Lyn vanished.

The pair later married and had a daughter but eventually split up.

When approached by A Current Affair near her home on the Northern Beaches, Joanne Curtis refused to comment.

Joanne Curtis is approached by A Current Affair.
Joanne Curtis is approached by A Current Affair.

Michelle Walsh, a former friend of Joanne, tonight told A Current Affair how her friend had changed after her marriage and was fearful of her safety.

She described the case of Lyn Dawson - who was mother to two daughters - as "tragic".

"That situation ended tragically and has continued to be tragic for 36 years for a family. And that all happened from that situation - no control within a school, no duty of care."

 

Michellle Walsh was a former student of Chris Dawson.
Michellle Walsh was a former student of Chris Dawson.

 

Ms Walsh said Joanne Curtis had changed dramatically when she moved back to Sydney from the Gold Coast after her marriage ended.

"The way she spoke, she was really, really damaged, really damaged, she'd been through a lot," Chris Allen.

"She was scared, she was scared for herself and her daughter."

Ms Walsh admits as a teenager she too had a crush on the charismatic PE teacher.

"I trusted him and I would have gone anywhere with him," she told ACA.

 

Chris Dawson with his twin brother Paul during his time as a teacher.
Chris Dawson with his twin brother Paul during his time as a teacher.

She said Dawson "would get us out of class so we could look after his girls".

Michelle said she would babysit Dawson's two young daughters at school and was also intoduced to his twin brother, Paul.

"All of those things made me feel very special," she told ACA.

A Current Affair spoke to a previous student of Cromer High, who described the toxic culture that was rife at the time.

Lynette  Dawson was a loving mother to two little girls.
Lynette Dawson was a loving mother to two little girls.

Phil Webster said some rogue teachers were openly in relationships with their teenage students.

"A lot of the teachers said to me 'once they're legal mate, they're fair game'," he said.

Ms Walsh said Dawson's behaviour and that of a few teachers at Cromer High was completely unacceptable.

"I don't think there's ever an excuse for it," she said.

"I think whether it's the '80s, '70s, '60s, I think as an adult, you know when something's wrong."