SYDNEY: If Australian authorities had decided earlier that a dingo snatched and killed baby Azaria Chamberlain 32 years ago, it could have prevented others being hurt, the child’s mother believes.
Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton fought for decades for Tuesday’s finding by a coroner that a wild dog took nine-week-old Azaria from a tent at a camp ground in Australia’s Uluru – then known as Ayers Rock – in August 1980.
She spent three years in jail after being convicted of killing her daughter before being released when some of Azaria’s clothing was recovered by chance near a dingo lair in 1986.
There have been more than 230 dingo attacks that have injured humans in the past 22 years, and Chamberlain-Creighton agreed some could have been prevented if people were more informed about the dangers of the animals.
“I definitely think some of those would have been prevented,” she told Australia’s A Current Affair television programme, which aired late on Tuesday.
“There are some, however, that would not have been.
“They (dingoes) look nice but it’s a case of beware because they are a very beautiful but cunning animal.”
She said she pressed for a fourth inquest in part because of a lack of awareness about the danger of dingoes.
The inquest was reopened after new information from the Chamberlains’ counsel about wild dog attacks, including a nine-year-old boy who was killed in 2001 and a two-year-old girl who died in 2005.
Chamberlain-Creighton said that on the night Azaria was taken, she thought she had taken all the precautions she could.
But she said she wished she had known that a dingo had attempted to drag a three-year-old girl from a car at Uluru in the weeks before the Chamberlains visited.
“I wish somebody would have told me because all the three kids would have slept in the car that night, as they had a couple of nights before,” she said.
The coroner found that Azaria was taken from the tent in which she was sleeping with her older brother by a dingo. The child’s body has never been found.
The case has captivated Australians for decades and was made into the 1988 movie A Cry in the Dark. – Sapa-AFP