In 1980 it was reported across the globe that a wild dingo in the Australian outback had snatched a baby. The initial sympathy for the mother was soon replaced with disgust as claims that it was her rather than the dingo that had killed the child.
More than 30 years late the mother, Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton, has finally been cleared of involvement.
Baby Azaria Chamberlain was just eight-weeks-old when she went missing. As is so often the case there were many who could not wait to rush in and accuse the mother. However life is often stranger than fiction and it is now believed that Azaria was taken by a dingo.
After the baby went missing Lindy was under investigation and charged with being responsible for the child's death but ultimately she was freed when evidence supported her record of events. "In 1982, Ms Chamberlain-Creighton was found guilty of her baby's murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, while Mr Chamberlain was found guilty of being an accessory."Both were later exonerated on all charges, after the chance discovery of a fragment of Azaria's clothing in an area dotted with dingo lairs.
Both parents were at the courthouse to hear the verdict of this final coroner's report. No longer a couple both were glad that at last they could put their daughter to rest.
The BBC reported that, ''Obviously we are relieved and delighted to come to the end of this saga,'' Ms Chamberlain-Creighton told reporters outside the courthouse. ''No longer will Australia be able to say that dingoes are not dangerous,'' she added. ''We live in a beautiful country but it is dangerous.''
Speaking after her, Mr Michael Chamberlain, the baby's father, said ''the truth is out''. He was with his ex-wife at the Darwin courthouse for the verdict. ''Now, some healing and a chance to put our daughter's spirit to rest.''Dingoes are a part of the Australian outback but they are wild dogs.
To a wild animal a tiny bundle such as an eight-year-old baby would have been hard to resist. Visitors should exercise caution and act accordingly.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog