Dingo DID Take Baby Azaria Chamberlain, Australian Coroner Rules

Dingo DID Take Baby Azaria Chamberlain, Australian Coroner Rules

A dingo was responsible for the death of baby Azaria Chamberlain a coroner has ruled, 32 years after the tragedy which led to a mistaken murder conviction.

The two-month-old baby vanished from a campsite near Uluru, or Ayers Rock, in 1980, sparking a lasting debate over whether her mother Lindy who was jailed for murder, was responsible for the death.

Mrs Chamberlain-Creighton served three years in prison, but was later cleared and has always maintained a dingo took her daughter, AP reports.

Speaking outside a Darwin court on Tuesday, she said: "We're relieved and delighted to come to the end of this saga."

Scroll down for more pictures from the case

Lindy and baby Azazria shortly before her disappearance

Speaking during the fourth inquest held into the baby's death, coroner Elizabeth Morris said: "I find that a dingo took Azaria and dragged her from her tent," AFP reported.

"It is clear that there is evidence that in particular circumstances a dingo is capable of attacking, taking and causing the death of young children," she added.

“My god the dingoes took my baby," Lindy Chamberlain is said to have cried the night her daughter disappeared, words that were described as a "calculated fanciful lie" in court. As well as splitting the nation, her words inspired the 1988 film "A Cry in the Dark" featuring Meryl Streep as distraught mother Lindy.

People had campaigned outside the court wearing T-shirts reading “the dingo is innocent!” while the jury laughed when they were shown pictures of dingoes as evidence.

However implausible, in 1981 a coroner ruled that baby Azaria was taken by dingoes.

A dingo did take Azaria Chamberlain, a coroner has ruled

It was a second inquiry in October 1982 that resulted in Lindy Chamberlain being convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with then-husband Michael convicted as accessory after the fact.

Much of the evidence rested on analysis of Azaria’s jumpsuit, found a week after the tragedy at the base of the rock. A slit to the neck of the baby-gro was judged to be made by scissors or a knife rather than dingo teeth, while a “bloodied” handprint was found on Azaria’s clothes.

Yet in one of biggest forensic blunders ever, the "bloodied handprint" turned out to be red desert dust, while more "blood" found in the family car was discovered to be chemical sound deadener.

Both convictions were overturned in one of the most mysterious cases in Australia’s legal history.

At the time of the tragedy dingo attacks were relatively rare, and the jury was sceptical that a dingo would be able to take a 4kg baby from her parent’s tent.

However In April 2001, a group of dingoes stalked and killed nine-year-old Clinton Gage, while a number of cases of dingo harrassment have been recorded on Fraser Island, Queensland.

A third inquiry returned an open verdict, with Michael Chamberlain voicing hope the fourth investigation would bring closure.

“We believe that new evidence will indicate that dingoes can in fact kill babies,” he said. “I trust that the truth will now be determined.”


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