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Lindy Chamberlain

Lindy Chamberlain

Overview
Alice Lynne Chamberlain-Creighton (born 4 March 1948) was at the centre of one of Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

's most publicised murder
Murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

 trials, in which she was convicted of killing her baby daughter, Azaria
Azaria Chamberlain disappearance
Azaria Chantel Loren Chamberlain was a nine-week-old Australian baby girl, who disappeared on the night of 17 August 1980 on a camping trip to Uluru with her family. Her body was never found. Her parents, Lindy and Michael Chamberlain, reported that she had been taken from their tent by a dingo...

. The conviction was later overturned.

Alice Lynne Murchison was born in Whakatane
Whakatane
Whakatane is a town in the eastern Bay of Plenty Region, in the North Island of New Zealand, and is the seat of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. Whakatane is 90 km east of Tauranga and 89 km north-east of Rotorua, at the mouth of the Whakatane River.The town has a population of , with...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

. She was known as Lindy from a young age. She moved to Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 with her family in 1949. She and her family were adherents to the Seventh-day Adventist Church
Seventh-day Adventist Church
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Protestant Christian denomination distinguished by its observance of Saturday, the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week, as the Sabbath, and by its emphasis on the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ...

 and she married fellow Adventist and pastor Michael Chamberlain
Michael Chamberlain
Michael Leigh Chamberlain is an Australian writer, retired teacher and former pastor, best known due to the 1980 disappearance of his daughter Azaria whilst camping near Uluru/Ayers Rock in the Northern Territory. When Chamberlain's then-wife Lindy was found guilty of the baby's murder in 1982, he...

 on 18 November 1969.

In the 1970s Michael and Lindy Chamberlain had two sons, Aidan (born 2 October 1973) and Reagan (born 16 April 1976).
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Encyclopedia
Alice Lynne Chamberlain-Creighton (born 4 March 1948) was at the centre of one of Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

's most publicised murder
Murder
Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

 trials, in which she was convicted of killing her baby daughter, Azaria
Azaria Chamberlain disappearance
Azaria Chantel Loren Chamberlain was a nine-week-old Australian baby girl, who disappeared on the night of 17 August 1980 on a camping trip to Uluru with her family. Her body was never found. Her parents, Lindy and Michael Chamberlain, reported that she had been taken from their tent by a dingo...

. The conviction was later overturned.

Early life


Alice Lynne Murchison was born in Whakatane
Whakatane
Whakatane is a town in the eastern Bay of Plenty Region, in the North Island of New Zealand, and is the seat of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. Whakatane is 90 km east of Tauranga and 89 km north-east of Rotorua, at the mouth of the Whakatane River.The town has a population of , with...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

. She was known as Lindy from a young age. She moved to Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 with her family in 1949. She and her family were adherents to the Seventh-day Adventist Church
Seventh-day Adventist Church
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Protestant Christian denomination distinguished by its observance of Saturday, the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week, as the Sabbath, and by its emphasis on the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ...

 and she married fellow Adventist and pastor Michael Chamberlain
Michael Chamberlain
Michael Leigh Chamberlain is an Australian writer, retired teacher and former pastor, best known due to the 1980 disappearance of his daughter Azaria whilst camping near Uluru/Ayers Rock in the Northern Territory. When Chamberlain's then-wife Lindy was found guilty of the baby's murder in 1982, he...

 on 18 November 1969.

In the 1970s Michael and Lindy Chamberlain had two sons, Aidan (born 2 October 1973) and Reagan (born 16 April 1976). For the first five years after their marriage they lived in Tasmania
Tasmania
Tasmania is an Australian island and state. It is south of the continent, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania—the 26th largest island in the world—and the surrounding islands. The state has a population of 507,626 , of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart...

, after which they moved to northern Queensland
Queensland
Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

.

Azaria Chamberlain's disappearance



Michael and Lindy Chamberlain's first daughter, Azaria, was born on 11 June 1980. When Azaria was two months old, Michael and Lindy Chamberlain took their three children on a camping trip to Uluru
Uluru
Uluru , also known as Ayers Rock, is a large sandstone rock formation in the southern part of the Northern Territory, central Australia. It lies south west of the nearest large town, Alice Springs; by road. Kata Tjuta and Uluru are the two major features of the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park....

, arriving on 16 August 1980. On the night of 17 August, Chamberlain reported that the child had been taken from her tent by a dingo
Dingo
The Australian Dingo or Warrigal is a free-roaming wild dog unique to the continent of Australia, mainly found in the outback. Its original ancestors are thought to have arrived with humans from southeast Asia thousands of years ago, when dogs were still relatively undomesticated and closer to...

. A massive search was organised, but all that was found were remains of some of the bloody clothes, which confirmed the death of baby Azaria. Her body has never been discovered.

Conviction, imprisonment and release


Although the initial coronal inquiry supported the Chamberlains' account of Azaria's disappearance, Lindy Chamberlain was later prosecuted for the murder of her child on the basis of the finding of the baby's jumpsuit and of tests that appeared to indicate the presence of blood found in the Chamberlains' car. This forensic gathering convicted her of murder on 29 October 1982, and sentenced her to life imprisonment. The prosecution theory was that in a ten minute absence from the camp fire she returned to her tent, changed into track suit pants, took Azaria to her car, used scissors to cut Azaria's throat, waited for Azaria to die, hid the body in a camera case in the car, cleaned up blood on everything including the outside of the camera case, removed the tracksuit pants, obtained baked beans for her son from the car, returned to the tent, did something to leave blood splashes there, and brought Aidan back to the campfire without ever attracting the attention of other campers. This naturally required the support of expert forensic evidence including that of Professor James Cameron
James Cameron (scientist)
James Malcolm Cameron was a British forensic scientist. He was born in Swansea and attended Glasgow High School. After graduating from Glasgow University, he held appointments in general medicine, general surgery, orthopaedic surgery and paediatric orthopaedics, before specialising in pathology,...

 who also gave crucial evidence in an English case that was later overturned when his evidence was proved incorrect. The Chamberlains would also have needed to convince fellow camper Sally Lowe to say that she heard Azaria cry after Mrs Chamberlain returned to the camp fire. They would also have been fortunate enough to have Judith West who was camped 30m away hear a dog’s low, throaty growl coming from that direction that she associated with growls her husband's dogs made when slaughtering sheep. Michael Chamberlain was convicted as an accessory to murder.

Shortly after her conviction, Lindy Chamberlain gave birth to her fourth child, Kahlia, on 17 November 1982, in Darwin Hospital under prison guard. An appeal against her conviction was rejected by the High Court
High Court of Australia
The High Court of Australia is the supreme court in the Australian court hierarchy and the final court of appeal in Australia. It has both original and appellate jurisdiction, has the power of judicial review over laws passed by the Parliament of Australia and the parliaments of the States, and...

 in February 1984.

New evidence emerged on 2 February 1986 when a remaining item of Azaria's clothing was found partially buried near Uluru in an isolated location, adjacent to a dingo lair. This was the matinee jacket which the police had maintained for years did not exist. Five days later, Chamberlain was released. The Northern Territory Government publicly said it was because "she had suffered enough". In view of inconsistencies in the earlier blood testing which gave rise to potential reasonable doubts about the propriety of her conviction and as DNA testing was not as advanced in the early 1980s it emerged that the 'baby blood' found in her car could have been any substance, Lindy Chamberlain's life sentence was remitted by the Northern Territory Government
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
The Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory is the unicameral parliament of the Northern Territory in Australia. It sits in Parliament House, located on State Square, close to the centre of the city of Darwin.-History:...

 and a Royal Commission
Royal Commission
In Commonwealth realms and other monarchies a Royal Commission is a major ad-hoc formal public inquiry into a defined issue. They have been held in various countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Saudi Arabia...

 began to investigate the matter in 1987. Chamberlain's conviction was overturned in September 1988 and another inquest in 1995 returned an open verdict.

Subsequent life


Chamberlain published Through My Eyes: an autobiography in 1990.

Lindy and Michael Chamberlain divorced in 1991. On 20 December 1992, she married an American, John Creighton, a publisher and fellow member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. She subsequently became known as Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton. She and Creighton live in Australia.

In August 2010, on the 30th anniversary of the death of Azaria, Chamberlain-Creighton appealed on her website to have the cause of death amended on Azaria's death record.

Adaptations


In the 1983 Australian TV movie about the case, Who Killed Baby Azaria?, Lindy Chamberlain was played by Elaine Hudson. In the 1988 film Evil Angels (released in Europe and the Americas as A Cry in the Dark) the role was played by Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep
Mary Louise "Meryl" Streep is an American actress who has worked in theatre, television and film.Streep made her professional stage debut in 1971's The Playboy of Seville, before her screen debut in the television movie The Deadliest Season in 1977. In that same year, she made her film debut with...

, whose performance received an Academy Award nomination for best actress in 1989. Miranda Otto
Miranda Otto
Miranda Otto is an Australian actress. The daughter of actors Lindsay and Barry Otto and the sister of actress Gracie Otto, she began acting at age eighteen, and has performed in a variety of independent and major studio films....

 played Chamberlain in the 2004 Australian TV mini-series, Through My Eyes: The Lindy Chamberlain Story. Australian composer Moya Henderson
Moya Henderson
Moya Henderson is an Australian composer.A graduate of the University of Queensland, Henderson also studied in Germany with Karlheinz Stockhausen after which she became a lecturer at the University of Sydney...

 wrote the opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

 Lindy
Lindy (opera)
Lindy is an opera in two acts by Australian composer Moya Henderson to an English libretto by Judith Rodriguez.It premiered on 25 October 2002 at the Sydney Opera House.-Roles:-Synopsis:The plot is based on the disappearance of Lindy...

to a libretto
Libretto
A libretto is the text used in an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata, or musical. The term "libretto" is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as mass, requiem, and sacred cantata, or even the story line of a...

 by Judith Rodriguez
Judith Rodriguez
Judith Catherine Rodriguez AM is a contemporary Australian poet.- Life :Rodriguez was born Judith Catherine Green in Perth and grew up in Brisbane. She was educated at Brisbane Girls Grammar School, and graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Arts...

.
In 1990, the Rank Strangers
Rank Strangers
The Rank Strangers were an Australian bluegrass band that won multiple national and international awards during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Random House’s 1991 book Australian Country Music declared the Rank Strangers to be among the major figures of the 1990s Australian music scene, along...

' recording of their song "Uluru", which supported the Chamberlains and called for compensation to be paid to them, finished in the final five of the Australian Country Music Awards in Tamworth, New South Wales.

External links