UPADATE! The Northern Territory Coroner – Elizabeth Morris – has handed down her findings. The findings end decades of public speculation over nine-week-old’s Azaria’s disappearance. There have been four Coronial Inquiries, a murder trial and a royal commission into the case.
In December last year we reported on the fledgling Coronial Inquest that Northern Territory Coroner Elizabeth Morris was about to open. A new inquest into the death of Azaria Chamberlain, not a new idea, this one is apparently going to be the Inquest to end All Inquests!? More than 3 decadess after her disappearance from her parent’s tent at a campsite near Uluru in Central Australia’s outback. Coroner Elizabeth Morris cited new information from the Chamberlains’s counsel about dingo attacks as a reason for reopening the inquiry. Azaria was two months old when she disappeared in August 1980. Lindy Chamberlain said at the time she had seen a dingo leave the tent, a claim that was greeted skeptically by many in a case that gripped the attention of the nation ::::
A Northern Territory coroner has found a dingo or dingoes killed baby Azaria Chamberlain at a campground at Uluru in 1980. Coroner Elizabeth Morris told a Darwin inquest this morning that all of the evidence indicates a dingo was responsible for Azaria’s death.
“Azaria Chamberlain died at Uluru, then known as Ayers Rock, on the 17th of August 1980,” Ms Morris said. ”The cause of her death was as the result of being attacked and taken by a dingo. It is clear that there is evidence that a dingo is capable of attacking, taking and causing the death of young children.”
The finding ends decades of public speculation over the nine-week-old’s disappearance.
There have been four coronial inquiries, a murder trial and a royal commission into the case.
Azaria’s mother Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton and her father Michael Chamberlain have always maintained a dingo took their baby. Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton was jailed for murder despite an initial inquest ruling that a dingo had killed her daughter.
The conviction was overturned in 1988 after Azaria’s mangled and torn jacket was found near a known dingo lair.
“Please accept my sincere sympathy on the death of your special and loved daughter and sister Azaria,” the coroner told Azaria’s family after handing down her finding. ”I’m so sorry for your loss. Time does not remove the pain and sadness of the death of a child.”
Outside the court, Ms Chamberlain-Creighton fought back tears but said she was “relieved and delighted to come to the end of this saga.”
“No longer will Australians be able to say that dingoes are not dangerous, and that they only attack if provoked.”
“The truth is out,” Mr Chamberlain added, saying that the family welcomed “a chance to put our daughter’s spirit to rest.”
After almost 32 years of legal battles and suspicion, Lindy and Michael Chamberlain say the record has finally been set straight that a dingo killed their baby Azaria. The coroner’s ruling was greeted by applause in the courtroom.
Afterwards, the Creightons held a brief press conference outside the court.
“I wasn’t going to cry but (son) Aidan started me off,” Lindy Chamberain Creighton said. ”Obviously we are relieved and delighted to reach the end of this saga.”
Ms Chamberlain Creighton and former husband Michael Chamberlain were applauded outside the Darwin Magistrates Court by a large media contingent and members of the public.
Mr Chamberlain said the coroner’s ruling was a triumph of justice. “This battle to get to the legal truth has taken too long,However, I am here to tell you that you can get justice even when you think that all is lost.”
After the ruling, the Chamberlains collected Azaria’s new death certificate from the court precinct, holding it up for the cameras.