Teacher’s Pet podcast creator tells court he thought it was ‘likely’ Chris Dawson murdered his wife

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The creator of the award-winning The Teacher’s Pet podcast told a Sydney court he initially thought it was “likely” that Chris Dawson murdered his wife Lynette.

Mr Dawson is charged with the 1982 murder of Lynette Dawson so he could pursue an ‘unfettered relationship’ with the family’s 16-year-old babysitter.

The 73-year-old pleaded not guilty.

Today Mr Dawson’s lawyer, Pauline David, asked journalist Hedley Thomas if he believed her client was guilty of murder before he started recording the podcast.

“No,” Thomas replied.

“I thought it was likely, but I always had an open mind about it, I wanted to know more about it, I became more sure over time.”

Thomas told the court he understood there had been around 60 million downloads of the podcast internationally, but only a fraction of those were listened to in full.

Hedley Thomas, who created the Teacher’s Pet podcast, testified in court today.(AAP: Bianca De Marchi)

The defense claims the podcast infected witnesses in the case.

Ms David accused Thomas of embarking “on a campaign to incite prejudice against the defendants”.

“No, I disagree,” he replied.

The defense also presented transcripts of television interviews in which Thomas participated, in which he described Mr Dawson as “narcissistic” and “despicable”.

The journalist told the court that these were his personal opinions and – although he has never met the defendant – he would probably not use such strong language if he had his time again.

A smiling woman holds a blond baby in a blue dress with the ocean in the background.
There have been no verified sightings of Lynette Dawson since her disappearance in 1982.(Provided.)

He said the opinion was formed based on the findings of two coroner’s inquests and his own interviews.

“I don’t think you need to meet someone to form an opinion about them…that was my view at this point, and that hasn’t changed,” Thomas told the court.

Thomas said his “strident” descriptions of Mr Dawson only came when he was asked for his personal opinion in interviews, and his opinion was not offered on the podcast.

Thomas told the court that if he discovered any information that changed the story or challenged the findings of the coroner’s inquests, it would have become a major part of the podcast.

During cross-examination, Thomas admitted that by telling Ms Dawson’s family he wanted to help them get “justice” it also meant prosecuting her husband.

While collecting evidence and information to create the podcast, he felt there had been “a failure by the police to properly investigate” her disappearance.

Thomas was also asked how much money he made with each download to which he replied, “none, nothing”.

The trial, before Judge Ian Harrison, continues.

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