Moment Azaria witness instantly regretted

 

Lindy Chamberlain recounts the panic and the chaos of the night her baby Azaria was taken by a dingo at a campground near Uluru 40 years ago in a new documentary - a tragedy that would become one of the biggest stories in Australian history.

On the night of August 17, 1980, while on a family camping trip in Uluru, the Chamberlain family's world came undone when a dingo took nine-week old baby Azaria from their tent. She was never seen again.

However, for the Chamberlains, it was only the beginning of the nightmare that was about to come as their daughter's disappearance became one of the biggest news stories in Australian history. Lindy would later spend three years in prison for Azaria's "murder", before being completely exonerated. It was "Australia's most notorious miscarriage of justice".

 

Baby Azaria disappeared at just nine weeks old.
Baby Azaria disappeared at just nine weeks old.

 

Michael and Lindy Chamberlain were suddenly in a media whirlwind.
Michael and Lindy Chamberlain were suddenly in a media whirlwind.

RELATED: Lindy Chamberlain says people still 'dingo howl' at her

In the new two-part documentary Lindy Chamberlain: The True Story, premiering at 7.30pm Sunday on Network 10, Lindy Chamberlain and her family share their side of the story.

In this harrowing preview clip, Lindy recounts a conversation she had with a key witness at the campground, Judy West, on the night Azaria went missing.

West would ask Lindy's young son Aiden a question about his baby sister she'd quickly regret.

"On the night of Azaria's disappearance, Judy West said to me afterwards, 'I can't believe I did it, but we just couldn't believe our ears. We'd heard the dingo growl, and then very shortly afterwards you'd cried out.'"

In the chaos and confusion of the night, Judy asked seven-year-old Aiden: "Has the dingo taken your baby?"

"She said, 'I can't believe I asked a child that,'" a tearful Chamberlain recalled.

RELATED: Lindy Chamberlain reduces Anh Do to tears

The campsite at Uluru with the Chamberlain family’s tent in the foreground from which baby Azaria disappeared.
The campsite at Uluru with the Chamberlain family’s tent in the foreground from which baby Azaria disappeared.

"He turned and looked and said, 'The dingo's got our baby in its tummy.' She said there was no question of (whether he knew) what was happening."

Choking back tears, Lindy said she was unaware her son blamed himself for his sister's disappearance for "years" for not zipping up the tent - not realising the zip was broken anyway. Besides, Lindy says now: "It wouldn't have made a difference; (dingos) were smart enough to get in."

Narrated by Sam Neill, who played Azaria's father Michael in the acclaimed 1988 film about the case, Evil Angels, the documentary Lindy Chamberlain: The True Story also features insights and exclusive interviews with eyewitnesses, media, high court judges and family friends, "giving viewers the complete story from start to finish".

 

Lindy Chamberlain in the new documentary.
Lindy Chamberlain in the new documentary.

 

Lindy Chamberlain: The True Story premieres Sunday, September 27 at 7.30pm on 10.

Originally published as Moment Azaria witness instantly regretted


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