Dingo caused baby Azaria Chamberlain's death - coroner

Coroner: "The cause of her death was the result of being attacked and taken by a dingo"

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An Australian coroner has made a final ruling that a dingo took baby Azaria Chamberlain from a campsite in 1980 and caused her death.

The decision was made after Azaria's parents presented new evidence to try to clear their names.

After the eight week-old baby went missing, they were charged with her disappearance. Her mother was convicted of her murder.

She was released when evidence matched the dingo story but doubts lingered.

They have long argued that the open verdict recorded after an earlier review of the case left room for doubt about Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton's innocence.

'Truth is out'

''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.''

Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton: ''We are relieved and delighted''

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.''

The Northern Territory coroner Elizabeth Morris delivered an emotional verdict, asking baby Azaria's parents to accept her ''sincere sympathy'' for the loss.

''Time does not remove the pain and sadness of the death of a child,'' Ms Morris said.

She added that a death certificate was now available for the parents and the final findings could be found on the coroners office website.

Famous case

Azaria Chamberlain case

  • 17 Aug 1980: Baby Azaria Chamberlain disappears from a campsite near Uluru (Ayers Rock) - her parents say she was taken by a dingo
  • 1982: Mother Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton convicted of murder; father Michael Chamberlain found guilty of being an accessory
  • 1986: Police find a piece of the baby's clothing in area of dingo lairs - case reopened
  • 15 Sep 1988: Both Lindy and Michael Chamberlain cleared of charges
  • 1995: Open verdict recorded following another inquest
  • 24 Feb 2012: Fourth inquest opened

Ms Chamberlain-Creighton has campaigned tirelessly to have dingoes officially blamed for the death of her child, says the BBC's Duncan Kennedy.

Earlier this year, the Chamberlains gave evidence to a coroner in Darwin recording a series of other attacks by dingoes on humans.

Virtually ever since Azaria vanished from her tent near Uluru (Ayers Rock) in 1980, Australia has been engrossed by the question of whether she was taken by a dingo.

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.

It was a case that divided Australians and was even turned into the film A Cry In The Dark, starring Meryl Streep.

Three previous coroner's inquests proved inconclusive.

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