12/06/2012 13:05 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Dingo Baby Death: Coroner Rules Wild Dogs DID Kill Azaria Chamberlain

A coroner has ruled that baby Azaria Chamberlain was taken by a dingo from a campsite in the Australian outback in 1980. Previous courts had convicted her mother, Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton of her murder.

Lindy had always insisted that her nine-week-old baby had been taken from their tent by a wild dog as the family slept.

She served over three years in prison for Azaria's murder, but was later cleared.

"We're relieved and delighted to come to the end of this saga," she told reporters outside the Darwin court yesterday.


Azaria disappeared from a campsite near Ayers Rock in 1980, leaving many people convinced that her mother had killed her.

The family came under attack from members of the public who spat on Mrs Chamberlain-Creighton and howled like dingoes outside her house.

Wild dogs have since been blamed for three fatal attacks on children, although at the time of Azaria's disappearance, there were no documented cases.

"No longer will Australia be able to say that dingoes are not dangerous and only attack if provoked," Mrs Chamberlain-Creighton said as she left court with her ex-husband and their three surviving children.

"We live in a beautiful country, but it is dangerous and we would ask all Australians to beware of this and take appropriate precautions."

Coroner Elizabeth Morris said she was "satisfied that the evidence is sufficiently adequate, clear, cogent and exact and that the evidence excludes all other reasonable possibilities" than that Azaria was taken by one or more dingoes.

The first coroner's inquest in 1981 into Azaria's disappearance reached the same conclusion, but the inquest found that there had been interference with Azaria's clothing, which was later found relatively unscathed in the desert.

A second coroner's inquest had Mrs Chamberlain-Creighton being charged with murder and her husband an accessory after the fact. Mrs Chamberlain-Creighton was accused of slashing Azaria's throat with nail scissors to make it look like a dingo attack.

Her sentence of life in prison with hard labour was overturned in 1986 after the baby's jacket was found near a dingo den and backed up her story.

What a relief for this family after so many years.