“I made a very, very, very big mistake by not stopping the car in the first place and not talking to Lyn,” he told the Local Court in 2020.
He did not tell Chris Dawson at the time, saying he did not realise the implications of the alleged sighting, and only informed another brother-in-law Peter Dawson by email in 2018.
Hutcheon’s wife and Dawson’s elder sister, Lynette Hutcheon, said she was certain her husband had mentioned the Gladesville incident to police in 1999.
She did not think the sighting was important enough to immediately tell her family about because of the feeling Lynette Dawson was alive but just needed time, the court heard.
“I thought that she was still in the area and she would, you know, settle things down and return.”
While notes taken by the police suggest Lynette Hutcheon did not supply Dawson’s contact number when requested in 1999, a phone call was intercepted between the two siblings the same day of the interview.
Lynette Hutcheon criticised the police officers for being too laid back and failing to record all important information divulged to them.
In the recorded phone call, Hutcheon is heard telling her brother the police were looking into the disappearance of Lynette Dawson. She guessed his second wife, known only as JC, was being “smart” and creating difficulties due to a heated custody battle.
“We don’t need her two cents worth like a hole in the head,” Hutcheon said.
In court, she was sure she gave her brother’s details to the police in 1999, appearing confused as to why only his address was provided and not his phone number.
Chris Dawson, 73, is accused of murdering his wife and disposing of her body in January 1982 so he could have an unfettered relationship with JC, who was his babysitter and his former student. The high school teacher and Newtown Jets rugby league player has pleaded not guilty.
Lynette Hutcheon told Justice Ian Harrison she heard Lynette Dawson had been seen after her disappearance on a coastal hippy commune somewhere north of Sydney.
She also said her aunt claimed to have seen Dawson selling handicrafts at a Sunday morning marketplace at a school car park in Beacon Hill sometime after her disappearance.
In 2018, Mr Thomas produced The Teacher’s Pet podcast which detailed the disappearance of Mrs Dawson and surrounding events.
The hearing continues on Wednesday.
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