‘The police were feeding information to the press’: The Australian mother wrongly convicted of murder

Despite the miscarriage of justice, the official cause of death remained the subject of speculation and innuendo in the years following. In 1988, the Chamberlain case was turned into the film, A Cry in the Dark, starring Meryl Streep as Lindy and Sam Neill as Michael.

Lindy herself wrote a book, Through My Eyes, in 1990 detailing the profound impact the episode had on her and her family’s lives. In the BBC Wogan interview, she said it was almost a form of protection for her three children, whose lives had been dominated by the whole affair.

“They have had so much information that is wrong put in front of them, my children have a right to live with the correct information. And with people continually approaching you in the street and asking you questions, at least this book answers a lot of them.”

In 2012, a coroner issued the final report in the Chamberlain case, formally stating that their daughter Azaria was attacked and taken by a dingo – something that Lindy and Michael had always maintained from the start.

The judgement in the Chamberlain case caused much soul searching in Australia. How so many people in the general population, the media, the police and the courts were so willing to believe an innocent woman was guilty and punish a grieving mother has been difficult for many Australians to reconcile.

“Australians always thought of themselves, and this country, as being the country of fair play,” said John Bryson, author of Evil Angels, the definitive book on Azaria’s disappearance, which the film Cry in the Dark was based on. “That certainly wasn’t the case.”

In History is a series which uses the BBC’s unique audio and video archive to explore historical events that still resonate today.

If you liked this story, sign up for The Essential List newsletter – a handpicked selection of features, videos and can’t-miss news delivered to your inbox every Friday.

Leave a Comment