A baby mourned…..a woman scorned

I remember as though it was yesterday the day baby Azaria Chamberlain was taken by a dingo from a tent, in the dead of night, at Uluru.

Lindy Chamberlain, Azaria’s mother was held in jail for three years, accused of murdering her baby, before evidence was found which completely exonerated her from any suspicion that she was the killer. She had given birth to another daughter in gaol but was not allowed to keep the baby with her. More punishment.

There was a frenzy from the media and a desperation from Northern Territory police at the time to find a human culprit for this tragic disappearance of a baby. The police evidence was flimsy, but the prosecution ensured that Lindy Chamberlain was guilty of this murder, and her husband an accessory in the disposal of Azaria’s body.

Lindy’s crime? Lindy was judged by the media and police of not grieving sufficiently after her baby died. She was described as ‘cold, callous, emotionless, blank’.

It was several years before the evidence presented in court was revisited and in the cold hard light of day, and time passed, it was realised there was not a single shred of hard evidence that could point to her guilt. The ‘blood spatter’ in the car was actually found to be paint spatter mixed with iron oxide from her hometown of Mount Isa.

Several witnesses on the night of the disappearance attested to being with Lindy and Michael, her husband at the time, and saw no evidence of blood on Lindy’s clothing. One witness spoke of hearing a baby cry out at the time she would have been taken by the dingo. Even Lindy’s young sons at one stage were suspected of the killing of their baby sister. Lindy was finally exonerated but is still tormented today by strangers who do not believe her to be innocent.

Lindy Chamberlain is not alone in finding herself at the centre of a media frenzy. The disappearance/kidnapping of four year old Madeleine McCann in Spain also provoked harsh criticism from police and media towards Kate, Madeleine’s mother, suspecting she was involved.  Kate, ‘did not show enough distress’, and was accused of ‘coping too well’. The whole frenzy was a travesty in wasted time which could have been more wisely spent following relevant leads. Much valuable time and resources were wasted.

Amanda Knox, yet another ‘femme fatale’ was treated shamefully by the media. She was nicknamed ‘Foxy Knoxy’ by the media when accused of killing her friend Meredith Kercher in Italy. Her lack of ability to demonstrate suitably emotional behaviour condemned her at her trial and was considered a reason to find her guilty. She too was later found not guilty by the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation.

Historically women were burnt at the stake when accused of various ‘failings’. Today they are at the mercy of the media and police … a symbolic ‘burning at the stake’ that clearly can still happen.

This article has been prepared for information purposes only and is not legal advice. For legal advice regarding your specific circumstances, please contact WR Law directly on (03) 5499 6131 or by email at admin@wrlaw.com.au

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