Lynette Simms: Next move for family after husband Chris Dawson’s sentence

Lynette Simms’ family say they have come to peace with the fact they will never find out where she is buried.

Chris Dawson was jailed for at least 18 years on Friday afternoon for murdering his wife, who vanished from their Sydney northern beaches home in January 1982.

But several questions continue to linger over the famous cold case.

During his sentencing remarks, Justice Ian Harrison said it could not be determined whether Dawson had help in murdering Lynette, the mother of two of his children, and her final resting place was still unknown.

The former teacher and rugby league player continues to maintain his innocence and has refused to reveal where Lynette is buried.

Lynette’s niece, Renee Simms, said given Chris’ actions during the trial, it was not surprising that he had vowed to appeal the verdict and had not revealed where Lynette’s final resting place.

“It’s frustrating but it’s something we have to come to peace with,” Renee Simms told Today on Saturday.

“We will never know where she is.”

After being found guilty in August, Dawson was on Friday sentenced to 24 years in prison with a non-parole period of 18 years, meaning he will not be eligible for release until August 2040.

Justice Harrison said Dawson, 74, would likely die in jail and given his cognitive and physical decline, would become “seriously disabled” before then.

“We went in with no expectations,” Renee Simms said of Dawson’s sentence.

“We were just happy with the guilty verdict, knowing Lyn’s name had been cleared and it was public that Chris had been found guilty of killing her. That was the big one for us.

“I think the reality was, whatever sentence he was going to get, he was likely not to survive it.

“We didn’t have a number in mind but the number given we think is fair.”

Before Friday, Lynette had widely been known as Lynette Dawson, but her brother Greg asked after he left Dawson’s sentencing that she be referred to by her maiden name, Lynette Simms.

Renee, who is Greg Simms’ daughter, said it was the family’s way of “reclaiming” Lynette.

“Closure is a funny word when it comes to something like this because I don’t think you ever get closure when a loved one just disappears off the face of the earth,” Renee Simms said.

“But it’s definitely the end of a chapter for us and something that we’ve been working towards for a really long time.”

Asked about her family’s next move, Renee said: “Hopefully we’re able to just slip back into anonymity.

“None of us find being in the public eye terribly comfortable. I think we would just like to go back to a quiet existence.”

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