With the premature death of Michael Chamberlain yesterday at the age of 72, only one person now knows for certain whether Lindy Chamberlain killed baby Azaria or not.
Rest in peace, Michael Chamberlain
The pair lost their nine-week-old daughter in 1980, when a dingo snuck into their tent at an Uluru campsite and took off with baby Azaria in its mouth. She was never seen again.
Azaria's disappearance triggered one of this nation's most controversial, high-profile and enduring mysteries.
It resulted in Lindy being wrongly charged with murder and Michael, an accessory after the fact.
Michael Chamberlain's entire adult life was a very sad one. First, he lost a child, then he was destroyed by the media, before having his faith tested, losing wife Lindy to divorce under the strain, becoming the full-time carer of his seriously ill second wife and then being hit with the leukaemia.
He has finally found peace – and release from the repulsive media and ignorant public that dogged his life.
Lindy has also lived a tough adult life – losing a child, being dragged to court five or six times accused of murder, spending a long spell in jail for a murder she was found not to have committed, losing her husband and constantly fielding media inquiries – which continue to this day.
And all of this has gone on for years.
Did they deserve this misery?
Given that both Lindy and Michael were found to have no case to answer, of course they didn't.
The cause of their misery was another matter altogether. Many have blamed the poor treatment of these two human beings on police and the media - and I agree!
It seems the police may have convicted them before they even faced court.
Certainly, the media seemed to assume from the outset that these two parents were guilty of something. Else>>>cent media commentary has suggested that the media was drawn to convicting the Chamberlain’s because of Lindy’s stony face and lack of apparent emotion at the time, their lack of public grieving, their less than well-known religion and their unusual story of their baby being taken by a dingo.
Whatever the reasons, both the police and the media have a case to answer.
But they are not wholly to blame. The real culprits here are YOU and ME.
I still talk to people today who have a strong view about the guilt or innocence of the Chamberlains. I have spoken to people recently still convinced that they were guilty.
My stance has always been that I have no idea because, unlike the courts, I do not have all of the evidence. This is equally true of the rest of the community. NO ONE other than Lindy Chamberlain now knows if she killed her baby, and the only informed authority (the appeal court) found that she was not only innocent, but had been treated VERY poorly by the system.
Despite this, there are clowns out there who still think she is guilty – and they have only a fraction of the evidence available to the courts, supported by unfounded and poorly sourced hearsay!
These same people refused to put pressure on the police and continued to support news outlets that had convicted her – also in the absence of all of the evidence.
I stopped reading WA's only daily newspaper, The West Australian, years ago. It is crap! Since that time, I've only picked up the publication once.
That was the day that the front cover featured an artist’s illustration of how murder victim Corrine Rainey - wife of high-profile barrister Lloyd - had been buried in King's Park. Who in the world benefited from that illustration. It was a pig of a thing for that rag to do – showing no no compassion nor respect for the children involved.
Further to this, The West Australian seemed to have convicted Rainey and even after he was found NOT GUILTY by an eminent judge, the paper questioned the verdict. Apparently, the media knows better than those trained to judge in these matters
On this basis, I never bought The West Australian again. Nor should you!
The Chamberlain case is much the same. The West Australian, like most media (with the clear exception of the ABC), was playing judge and jury, as it so often does.
But they will only do this so long as you keep supporting them.
Anyone who kept supporting media that convicted the Chamberlains has blood on their hands!
Anyone who thinks they know better than the courts when they have a fraction of the evidence is guilty of an injustice.
Rest in peace, Michael Chamberlain. I did not know you, but I know what misery the Australian people put you through.