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Chris Dawson Pleads Not Guilty To Murdering Wife Lynette 38 Years Ago

Former rugby league player Chris Dawson has formally pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife, Lynette Dawson, on Sydney's northern beaches in 1982.

The 71 year old entered his plea when he appeared for arraignment in the NSW Supreme Court for the first time on Friday.

The former teacher and Newtown Jets rugby league player has repeatedly claimed that Lynette Dawson is alive and several people have seen her since her disappearance in January 1982.

Dawson was emotionless as he was arraigned. He appeared via video-link because of social distancing restrictions amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Chris Dawson. Image AAP

The case was the subject of the popular podcast Teacher's Pet and was scheduled to go to trial later this year.

Dawson has been accused of murdering his former wife, who was last seen at their Bayview home on January 9, 1982.

During a committal hearing in February, four witnesses testified they had seen Dawson in the months and years since she disappeared.

Dawson's brother-in-law, Ross Hutcheon, told the court he saw Ms Dawson alive three-to-six months after her disappearance on the side of Victoria Road in Gladesville standing outside a hospital.

Chris and Lynette. Image: supplied

A family friend, 101-year-old Elva McBay, said she spotted Ms Dawson at a public reception for Prince Charles and Princess Diana in Sydney's CBD in March 1983.

Two former neighbours, Peter and Jill Breese, claimed they independently saw  Dawson working at a northern beaches hospital two years after she went missing.

The matter is scheduled to return to court on Wednesday.