Young cop’s incredible Dawson discovery
A young, dogged detective who has been on the NSW Police Force homicide squad for just three years has played a key role in bringing what is shaping up be the trial of the year to pass.
Detective Senior Constable Daniel Poole was one of three who flew from Sydney to the Gold Coast on Tuesday night to arrest accused killer Chris Dawson, over the high profile suspected murder of his first wife Lyn, who vanished 36 years ago.
The detectives, dressed in conspicuous black suits and armed with an arrest warrant, pulled up in an unmarked police car on Barnard Street in Biggera Waters, just before 8am on Wednesday.
Their Queensland colleagues, in a second car, did the same before both groups swooped in and arrested Mr Dawson at the door of a granny flat on the property.
He has since been extradited to Sydney and will remain behind bars at least until he applies for bail next Friday.
Mr Dawson, a former Newtown Jets rugby league player and Cromer High School teacher, has long been a suspect in the case but denies any involvement in his wife's disappearance.
In September, police dug up the backyard at the Bayview home the couple had shared but did not find remains or items of interest.
His arrest was more than three decades in the making but it was Sen-Constable Poole's fresh set of eyes that helped make it happen.
It's understood the young detective re-engaged witnesses and uncovered new leads, culminating in a brief of evidence which was sent to the NSW Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to review in April.
The following month, Ms Dawson's disappearance became the subject of The Australian's internationally acclaimed podcast series, The Teacher's Pet.
On Monday this week, the DPP granted an arrest warrant for Mr Dawson in connection with his wife's suspected murder, and Sen-Constable Poole and his colleagues soon came for Mr Dawson.
Accompanying Mr Dawson on his extradition from the Gold Coast to Sydney on Thursday, Sen-Constable Poole sat to the right of the 70-year-old, who reportedly spent most of the flight staring out the window.
He stayed close to the suspect after the Qantas plane touched down and they walked across the tarmac to a blue, unmarked police car waiting to transport Mr Dawson to Surry Hills Police Station.
Sen-Constable Poole joined him in the back seat on the short journey to the station where Mr Dawson was then charged with the murder of his wife.
Later that day, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller announced the major development in the cold case and singled out Sen-Constable Poole for his "tireless" work.
"In 2015, NSW Police Force unsolved homicide Squad under Strike Force Scriven commenced a reinvestigation into the disappearance and possible homicide of Lynette Dawson," the commissioner said.
"Over the next three years, detective Dan Poole has worked tirelessly gathering evidence, preparing a brief of evidence with other detectives which culminated in April this year, the submission of a fresh brief of evidence to the department.
"Positive information that enabled NSW police to get an arrest warrant for a 70-year-old man currently living in Queensland.
"That warrant was executed this morning, a 70-year-old man was arrested and is currently waiting to go before the courts in Queensland to face extradition to NSW.
"We would like to have found the body of Lynette Dawson, not just for the evidence but for the family, and we certainly will not give up on the search."
The commissioner said police had "dropped the ball" during the 1980s investigation but that
new evidence had helped to "tie pieces of the puzzle together". Some of the additional material surfaced as a result of The Teacher's Pet podcast.
"There was additional evidence that was identified and … that has seen the DPP make a positive decision in prosecuting an individual for the murder of Lynette Dawson," Commissioner Fuller said.
According to The Australian, Ms Dawson's sister, Pat Jenkins, is immeasurably grateful for the recent efforts of police, under the watch of Commissioner Fuller and the homicide squad's commander, Detective Superintendent Scott Cook.
But she also wishes one NSW detective who played a crucial role, Damian Loone, was part of the arrest team, the newspaper reports.
Detective Loone dived head first into the case in the late 1990s when it was gathering cobwebs, according to The Australian.
Ms Dawson's disappearance had, in the early days, been neglected by police in a shocking dereliction of duty for reasons that are still not yet clear.
Detective Loone's investigations led to two coronial inquests, in 2001 and 2003, which both found that Ms Dawson was murdered by her husband. But he was not charged, with the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions ruling there was insufficient evidence.
Detective Loone kept investigating, going back to the DPP again, but prosecutors wouldn't budge, The Australian reports.
In 2015, the NSW Homicide Squad took over and assigned the case to a new detective, Daniel Poole. And, the rest is history.