Azaria death caused by dingo: coroner



It took more than 30 years, but Michael and Lindy Chamberlain now believe they have justice for the daughter Azaria.

And, finally, official appreciation of their "pain and sadness".

A packed courtroom in Darwin erupted into applause after an emotional coroner found that a dingo killed nine-week-old Azaria Chamberlain while the family was on a camping trip at Ayers Rock in 1980.

Whakatane-born Ms Chamberlain-Creighton, as she is known after remarrying, and her ex-husband, Christchurch-born Michael Chamberlain, and their son Aiden Chamberlain were all on hand to hear Tuesday's historic verdict.

"The cause of her death was as the result of being attacked and taken by a dingo," Deputy NT Coroner Elizabeth Morris said, fighting back tears.

"I am so sorry for your loss. Time does not remove the pain and sadness of the death of a child."

Ms Morris said new evidence about other dingo attacks since Azaria's disappearance showed the wild dogs were capable of killing small children.

Ms Chamberlain-Creighton hugged her legal counsel, Stuart Tipple, and Aiden.

She told media outside the court she was "relieved and delighted" she had come to the end of a long saga.

Ms Chamberlain was sentenced to life in prison in 1982 for murdering Azaria, and Michael Chamberlain was given a suspended sentence for being an accessory after the fact.

They were both exonerated in a 1987 royal commission.

"No longer will Australia be able to say that dingoes are not dangerous and will only attack if provoked," said Ms Chamberlain-Creighton outside court on Tuesday.

"We live in a beautiful country but it is dangerous and we'd ask all Australians to be aware of this and take appropriate precautions."

Michael Chamberlain told awaiting media it had been a terrifying battle that had taken too long.

"Today, I heard Coroner Morris speak for the dead on behalf of the living," Mr Chamberlain said.

He recalled being told by a senior judicial officer after the previous inquest in 1995, which delivered an open verdict, that he would never get justice in the Northern Territory.

"Well, the truth is out," he said.

He thanked the media for its "reporting based on facts" and the family's supporters throughout the ordeal.

Azaria's family then made their way a short distance to Births, Deaths and Marriages NT, where they were given a new death certificate, showing the baby died from a dingo attack.

Despite the finding, a policeman at Uluru the night Azaria Chamberlain disappeared in 1980 says he still believes there was some human intervention in the event.

Retired policeman Frank Morris said while he was not trying to blame anyone for the death of Azaria, he still believed clothes the baby had been wearing were moved by a person or people.

"We don't know who. That is the $64,000 question," he said.

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