‘I saw him digging’: Chris Dawson’s daughter reveals childhood memory

Chris Dawson's daughter speaks out for first time

The daughter of convicted wife-killer Chris Dawson has revealed the “profound” memories that surfaced when she was hypnotised in a bid to uncover evidence against her father.

Shanelle Dawson was just four years old when her mother Lynette disappeared in 1982 and she and her sister were told their mother didn’t love them.

Speaking to 60 Minutes on Sunday night, Shanelle said hypnotherapy in 2013 took her back to her childhood and uncovered memories she believes are true.

“It was like I could feel myself as a four-and-a-half-year-old child again. I could feel the feelings that she felt at the time. It was really pretty profound,”she told 60 Minutes.

Ms Dawson said that while under hypnosis she was transported back to that night at the family’s Bayview home on Sydney’s northern beaches.

She recalled shovels “being pulled out of the back of the car, and headlights, and digging” a grave.

“I believe I saw my sister and I in the back of a car, of our station wagon, and my mother slumped in the front,” she told the program.

“I believe I saw him shining headlights on a spot near the pool and digging.

“I believe that he buried her in that spot for that night, and then the next day when he didn’t have us kids, moved her somewhere else.”

The hypnosis was was organised by police in 2013 and performed by clinical psychologist Dr Gary Banks in Sydney.

Chris Dawson was married to Lynette when he started sleeping with a high school student. Photo: Twitter

Chris Dawson, 74, was found guilty in a judge-only trial in August for murdering his wife and disposing of her body on January 8, 1982. The sentencing is due in November.

Justice Ian Harrison said the former school teacher had an obsession with his then teenage lover, known as JC, and feared losing her.

The former Newtown Jets rugby league player maintained he was innocent but Justice Harrison found Dawson had lied to police and family members to deflect attention away from himself and his crime.

These lies included that he had taken phone calls from Mrs Dawson after her disappearance.

Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson was found guilty in August for murdering his wife in 1982. Photo: AAP

Ms Dawson told 60 Minutes that for decades she struggled to believe her father was guilty but she was eventually forced to face the truth.

She said her father was a manipulator and gaslighter who put his own survival above that of others.

“My father embodies the survival of the fittest and f— everyone else to get what you want,” she said.

“I feel an anger and rage towards him for being that way, but I simultaneously feel compassion and sadness that he is that way.”

Ms Dawson said her sister Sherryn and their father’s extended family had long been supporters of Dawson’s innocence, causing a division within the family.

“I started grieving for him, though, even before I believed he murdered my mum,” she said.

The case against Dawson succeeded despite Mrs Dawson’s body never being found and the absence of a murder weapon.

Topics: Chris Dawson
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