AFTER a "terrifying" 32-year ordeal that divided the nation, Lindy Chamberlain finally received an official ruling from an Australian coroner that a dingo killed her baby.
The Northern Territory Deputy Coroner, Elizabeth Morris, put an end to decades of speculation about the fate of Azaria Chamberlain, a nine-week-old baby snatched from a bassinet at a campsite at Ayers Rock, or Uluru, in 1980. The finding was based on new evidence about a series of unprovoked dingo attacks on children at sites across the country.
Holding back tears, the deputy coroner said a dingo or dingoes attacked Azaria and dragged her away, adding that the evidence "excludes all other reasonable possibilities". The ruling drew applause from spectators in the packed court.
"Azaria Chamberlain died at Uluru on 17 August 1980 and the cause of her death was as the result of being taken by a dingo," Ms Morris said.
“Please accept my sincere sympathy on the loss and death of your special and loved daughter and sister, Azaria. I'm so sorry for your loss. Time does not remove the pain and sadness of the death of a child."
The ruling ends a seemingly endless saga that led to four inquests, a trial, two appeals and a royal commission and inspired the film A Cry in The Dark, starring Meryl Streep. Ms Chamberlain spent years in jail after a jury refused to believe that a dingo stole her baby but the life sentence prompted a community campaign and was overturned in 1988.
Outside the court in Darwin today, Ms Chamberlain received an amended death certificate and declared she was "relieved and delighted to be at the end of this saga".
She and Azaria’s father, Michael Chamberlain, are both divorced and remarried but sat next to each other and hugged during the hearing.
Mr Chamberlain said the battle to expose the truth had “taken too long”.
“The truth is out,” he said. “This has been a terrifying battle. Bitter at times. But now some healing and a chance to put our daughter's spirit to rest.”