An Australian Coroner has finally closed the case file on one of Australia's longest running murder mysteries.
In the Darwin Magistrates Court today, Coroner Sheila Castlemaine-XXXX made a landmark ruling in the notorious 1980 'A Cry In The Dark' case, in which 9 week old Azaria Chamberlain was allegedly abducted by a wild dingo, whilst she was on a family camping trip to Ayers Rock.
Shortly after her disappearance, her parents were arrested by police on suspicion that they had engaged in foul play. Various theories were paraded around by the media, including one that her parents had smuggled Azaria to Indonesia, where they believed life would be better for her. She was also reportedly spotted crossing Ramsay Street during an early episode of Neighbours. However, based on purely circumstantial evidence, her parents were subsequently charged and convicted of her murder, before later being cleared by a Royal Commission.
In today's landmark ruling, Coroner Castlemaine-XXX stated, "I have conducted a thorough and detailed review of the evidence before me. I can categorically conclude that Azaria was taken by a wild dingo and that no foul play on the part of her parents could ever have been proven. That they were convicted of this heineous crime was a huge travesty of justice."
Following the hearing, and as the Chamberlains addressed the assembled press pack, an officer of the Northern Territory Parks Service issued the pair with a summons to answer a charge of illegally feeding wild animals, contrary to section 23, paragraph 6 of the National Parks regulations. Ranger Bruce Vegemite said, "This is beyond irresponsible. How many more small children did this dingo eat after being given one? He could also have been seriously harmed. Small children represent a significant choking hazard."