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Azaria Chamberlain, sua madre e un dingo…

Dedicato ai supporters del salottino di Vespa dove gli ospiti onniscienti (criminologi, psichiatri, eletti del popolo, mogli di leader ecc) chissà come avrebbero trattato un caso come questo in Australia…

Australian coroner finds dingo took baby Azaria in 1980

Coroner finds a dingo caused the death of Azaria Chamberlain, finally bringing to an end a 30-year fight for justice

A coroner in Australia’s Northern Territory rules that nine-week-old Azaria Chamberlain was taken by a dingo when she disappeared in 1980

Three decades after Azaria Chamberlain went missing from a tent near Uluru in central Australia, a coroner in Australia has finally concluded that the nine-week-old baby was taken from her tent by a dingo.

Azaria’s disappearance transfixed Australia in 1980, and divided a nation in the years that followed. Her parents, Michael and Lindy Chamberlain, were camping near the Uluru, formerly known as Ayers Rock, with Azaria and their two other young children on the night she disappeared. They have always maintained a dingo took her.

On Tuesday, Northern Territory coroner Elizabeth Morris handed down her findings, saying evidence from the case proved a dingo or dingoes were responsible for Azaria’s death and ruled that her death certificate should read “attacked and taken by a dingo”.

“I am satisfied that the evidence is sufficiently adequate, clear, cogent and exact, and that the evidence excludes all other reasonable possibilities, to find that what occurred on 17 August 1980 was that shortly after Mrs Chamberlain placed Azaria in the tent, a dingo or dingoes entered the tent, took Azaria and carried and dragged her from the immediate area,” she said.

Her voice breaking with emotion, the coroner addressed Michael Chamberlain and his former wife, now Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton, and their son, Aidan, in court.

“Please accept my sincere sympathies on the death of your special and loved daughter and sister, Azaria. I am so sorry for your loss. Time does not remove the pain and sadness of the death of a child,” she said.

The finding means that Azaria’s death certificate has been changed from “unknown” to state that a dingo took her.

Outside the court Chamberlain-Creighton said she was relieved and delighted to be at the end of this saga.

“No longer can Australia be able to say that dingoes are not dangerous and only attack if provoked,” she said.

“We live in a beautiful country and it is dangerous and we would ask all Australians to be aware of this and to take appropriate precautions and not wait for somebody else to do it for them.”

Her former husband, Michael Chamberlain, said the battle to get to the “legal truth” about what happened to his daughter had taken too long.

“However, I am here to tell you that you can get justice even when you think that all is lost. But truth must be on your side,” he said.

“I cannot stress strongly enough how important it is to pursue a just cause even when it seems to be a mission impossible.”

He thanked those who had believed their story and backed their version of events throughout three decades of trials and inquests.

“This has been a terrifying battle; bitter at times. But now, some healing and a chance to put our daughter’s spirit to rest,” he said.

The night Azaria died, her family had been camping with six other groups on the east side of the rock. After Azaria had been put her to bed in a tent, one of the other campers heard a cry. Lindy Chamberlain went to check on her and moments later cried out “My God, My God, a dingo has got my baby”. There was blood on the tent and dingo tracks nearby. A search party of around 300 people looked for the baby until 3am but she was never found.

The first coronial inquest into Azaria’s disappearance in 1980-81 ruled that a dingo was the likely cause of her death. The court proceedings were the first to be televised live and the coroner criticised some police and the public for what he thought was a prejudiced view against the Chamberlains.

Both Michael and particularly Lindy had become the subject of jokes. Dinner tables across the country were consumed by debate about who or what had killed Azaria, something later captured in the movie about her disappearance, A Cry in the Dark, starring Merryl Streep.

Despite the coronial verdict, investigations into her death continued, and in late 1981 the Northern Territory supreme court quashed the coroner’s findings and a new inquest and subsequent trial followed.

In October 1982, Lindy Chamberlain was convicted of murder and her husband as an accessory. The prosecution alleged that Lindy Chamberlain had cut Azaria’s throat in the front seat of the family car and hidden the baby’s body in a large camera case. They presented controversial forensic evidence, later discredited, to support their case.

Lindy Chamberlain served three years in jail, during which time she gave birth to another daughter, Khalia. An appeal to the high court was rejected.

In 1986, the chance discovery of Azaria’s matinee jacket – an item of clothing Lindy had always said her baby had been wearing at the time of the attack – reopened the case.

The Chamberlains were pardoned, their convictions quashed. The third coronial inquest in 1995 returned an open finding with the cause of death unknown.

The latest inquest heard new evidence of the prevalence of dingo attacks in Australia, including on both children and adults.

In a television interview following Tuesday’s findings, Chamberlain-Creighton said she believed many of those attacks could have been prevented if people had been properly warned about the danger of dingoes. She said if she had known of the potential danger the animals posed, she would have taken further precautions herself on the night and put her children to bed in the family car, rather than in the tent.

“The reason I kept fighting for this inquest and fighting for a dingo finding is because, despite the three other deaths [caused] by dingoes or cross dingoes since Azaria died, there’s still nothing in law until today to say that there’s ever been any sort of [death by] dingo attack,” she told channel Nine.

Chamberlain-Creighton said she felt she had been subjected to trial by media over the decades since her baby’s disappearance.

“I think there are people in all fields who should be ashamed of the way they behaved over this and individuals at home as well, because nobody sat on the fence,” she said.


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