THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS BASED ON A TRUE STORY AND IS BASED UPON TRUE EVENTS, AS THEY ACTUALLY OCCURRED.
“Evil Angels” (film)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Evil Angels”, released as “A Cry in the Dark” outside of Australia and New Zealand, is a 1988 Australian film directed by Fred Schepisi. The screenplay by Schepisi and Robert Caswell is based on John Bryson‘s 1985 book of the same name. It chronicles the case of Azaria Chamberlain, a nine-week-old baby girl who disappeared from a camp-ground near Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) in August 1980 and the struggle of her parents, Michael and Lindy, to prove their innocence to a public convinced that they were complicit in her death. Meryl Streep and Sam Neill star as the Chamberlains, and Streep was Oscar nominated for her performance.
The film was released less than two months after the Chamberlains were exonerated by the Northern Territory Court of Appeals of all charges filed against them.
Seventh-day Adventist Church pastor Michael Chamberlain, his wife Lindy, their two sons, and their nine-week-old daughter Azaria are on a camping holiday in the Outback. With the baby sleeping in their tent, the family is enjoying abarbecue with their fellow campers when a cry is heard. Lindy returns to the tent to check on Azaria and is certain she sees a dingo with something in its mouth running off as she approaches. When she discovers the infant is missing, everyone joins forces to search for her, without success. It is assumed what Lindy saw was the animal carrying off the child, and a subsequent inquest rules her account of events is true.
The tide of public opinion soon turns against the Chamberlains. For many, Lindy seems too stoic, too cold-hearted, and too accepting of the disaster that has befallen her. Gossip about her begins to swell and soon is accepted as statements of fact. The couple’s beliefs are not widely practised in the country, and when the media report a rumour that the name Azaria means “sacrifice in the wilderness” (when in fact it means “blessed of God”), the public is quick to believe they decapitated their baby with a pair of scissors as part of a bizarre religious rite. Law-enforcement officials find new witnesses, forensics experts, and circumstantial evidence—including a small wooden coffin Michael uses as a receptacle for his parishioners’ packs of un-smoked cigarettes—and reopen the investigation, eventually charging Lindy with murder. Seven months pregnant, she ignores her attorneys’ advice to play on the jury’s sympathy and appears emotionless on the stand, convincing onlookers she is guilty of the crime of which she is accused. As the trial progresses, Michael’s faith in his religion and his belief in his wife disintegrate, and he stumbles through his testimony, suggesting he is concealing the truth. In October 1982, Lindy is found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour, while Michael is found guilty as an accessory and given an 18-month suspended sentence.
More than three years later, while searching for the body of an English tourist who fell from Uluru, police discover a small item of clothing that is identified as the jacket Lindy had insisted Azaria was wearing over her jumpsuit, which had been recovered early in the investigation. She is immediately released from prison, the case is reopened and all convictions against the Chamberlains overturned.
The Death of Azaria Chamberlain
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Azaria Chantel Loren Chamberlain (11 June 1980 – 17 August 1980) was an Australian baby girl who was killed by a dingo on the night of 17 August 1980 on a family camping trip to Uluru (at that date known as Ayers Rock) in the Northern Territory. Her body was never found. Her parents, Lindy and Michael Chamberlain, reported that she had been taken from their tent by a dingo. Lindy Chamberlain was, however, tried for murder and spent more than three years in prison. She was released when a piece of Azaria’s clothing was found near a dingo lair, and new inquests were opened. In 2012, some 32 years after Azaria’s death, the Chamberlains’ version of events was officially confirmed by a coroner.
An initial inquest held in Alice Springs supported the parents’ claim and was highly critical of the police investigation. The findings of the inquest were broadcast live on television—a first in Australia. Subsequently, after a further investigation and a second inquest held in Darwin, Lindy Chamberlain was tried for murder, convicted on 29 October 1982 and sentenced to life imprisonment. Azaria’s father, Michael Chamberlain, was convicted as an accessory after the fact and given a suspended sentence. The media focus for the trial was unusually intense and aroused accusations of sensationalism, while the trial itself was criticised for being unprofessional and biased. The Chamberlains made several unsuccessful appeals, including the final High Court appeal.
After all legal options had been exhausted, the chance discovery in 1986 of a piece of Azaria’s clothing in an area full of dingo lairs led to Lindy Chamberlain’s release from prison. On 15 September 1988, the Northern Territory Court of Criminal Appeals unanimously overturned all convictions against Lindy and Michael Chamberlain. A third inquest was conducted in 1995, which resulted in an “open” finding. At a fourth inquest held on 12 June 2012, Coroner Elizabeth Morris delivered her findings that Azaria Chamberlain had been taken and killed by a dingo, and an amended death certificate was issued immediately.
Numerous books have been written about the case. The story has been made into a TV movie, the feature film Evil Angels (released outside of Australia andNew Zealand as A Cry in the Dark), a TV miniseries, a play by Brooke Pierce, a concept album by Australian band The Paradise Motel and an opera, Lindy, by Moya Henderson.
Dingo baby case reopened 24 years after Meryl Streep film
Investigations continue more than two decades after Streep’s Oscar-nominated performance as Lindy Chamberlain
More than two decades after Meryl Streep was Oscar-nominated for her portrayal of an Australian mother wrongly jailed for killing her child, acourt has reopened investigations into whether the nine-week-old baby really was taken and killed by a dingo.
Northern Territory coroner Elizabeth Morris opened the fourth inquest into the death of Azaria Chamberlain on Friday following depositions from Lindy Chamberlain and her ex-husband Michael. The couple’s plight was brought to the big screen in 1988 as A Cry in the Dark (or Evil Angels in Australia), with Streep and Sam Neill taking the lead roles.
Lindy became the country’s most hated woman following her conviction but was freed from prison three years into a life sentence following the discovery of her child’s matinee jacket in an isolated spot near to a dingo lair. Michael was freed at the same time, having been convicted as an accessory to murder.
Chamberlain went back to court last week with the aim of proving that a dingo really did take her baby from the outback campsite on 17 August 1980. While both parents were acquitted of involvement in Azaria’s death in 1988, the year of A Cry in the Dark’s release, Azaria’s death certificate still lists the cause of death as “unknown” and her parents want to set the record straight on behalf of their daughter.
Lindy Chamberlain, now known as Chamberlain-Creighton after remarrying, believes new evidence about the dangers of dingoes will help convince authorities that an animal did take and kill the child after entering a tent on the campsite near the famous Ayers Rock landmark, where the Chamberlains had been holidaying. Since her acquittal, she has devoted much of her life to highlighting the dangers of dingoes.
Chamberlain has always insisted she saw an animal run from the tent and disappear into the darkness shortly before discovering her daughter’s empty cot. She subsequently ran from the tent and screamed: “The dingo’s got my baby!”, a line made famous by Streep in A Cry in the Dark. However, officials at the time were initially doubtful that a dingo was strong enough to drag away a baby. They charged Lindy with murder, prosecutors suggesting she slit Azaria’s throat in the family car before burying her in the desert. Initial forensic tests suggesting there was blood in the car were later discredited.
“I hope that this will give a final finding which closes the inquest into my daughter’s death, which so far has been standing open and unfinished,” Chamberlain said outside the courthouse in the Northern Territory capital, Darwin. “It gives me hope this time that Australians will finally be warned and realise that dingoes are a dangerous animal.”
The court heard from a former police officer hired to investigate the case, who said there had been a number of dingo attacks on humans since 1980, some of them fatal. Rex Wild, a lawyer assisting the coroner, said evidence suggested that a dingo might have been responsible for Azaria’s death.
“Although it (a dingo killing a child) may have been regarded as unlikely in 1980 … it shouldn’t be by 2011-12,” he said. “With the additional evidence in my submission, your honour should accept on the balance of probabilities that the dingo theory is the correct one.”
Morris adjourned the hearing without saying when she would release her findings. A Cry in the Dark marked Streep’s eighth Oscar nomination, though she lost to Jodie Foster for The Accused. The US actor won her third Academy Award last night for her portrayal of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. It was her 17th nomination.
“Dingo Got my Baby” Case Heads Back to Court, 31 years Later
3:50 PM PST2/24/2012 by Michael O’Connell
Infamous after being played by Meryl Streep in 1988’s Oscar-nominated “A Cry in the Dark,” vindicated mother Lindy Chamberlain pursues a fourth inquest to prove her lost daughter was killed by wild dogs.
The Australian tragedy that managed to turn into a running pop culture gag is back in the headlines yet again.
Lindy Chamberlain, who was convicted and eventually cleared of murdering her infant daughter Azaria, has prompted the unsolved case’s fourth reopening since the 9-week-old first disappeared from an Australian outback campsite in 1980. She says new testimony on the dangers of dingos will put the matter to a finish.
Chamberlain (now Chamberlain-Creighton) has maintained from the night night her daughter disappeared that she saw a dingo leave a tent with baby Azaria in its mouth. Her recounting was immortalized in 19888, when Meryl Streep played her in A Cry in the Dark, shouting in a heavy Australian accent, “The dingo’s got my baby!”
That phrase has since been parodied by The Family Guy, Seinfeld, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and umpteen other television series and films.
“I hope that this will give a final finding which closes the inquest into my daughter’s death, which so far has been standing open and unfinished,” Chamberlain said, reports The Australian Paper. “It gives me hope this time that Australians will finally be warned and realize that dingoes are a dangerous animal.”
Chamberlain was convicted of murdering Azaria in 1984, when prosecutors convinced a jury (and many members of a rapt public) that she had cut the baby’s throat, hidden the body and then returned to the tent to announce the dingo had taken Azaria.
She was sentenced to life in prison and hard labor, and her (now former) husband Michael received a 18-month suspended sentence for being an accessory. Both convictions were overruled in 1987, however, when the remains of Azaria’s jacket were found in a Dingo liar near the campsite.
Lindy Chamberlain has devoted much of her life since her to proving that dingos killed Azaria and close the unsolved case. A decision in the latest inquiry is to come within days.
From these events, what becomes amply obvious is that Life is Unfair and comes with no guarantees. I’ve chosen this story today because it is critical for the world’s population to realize that INNOCENCE IS VITAL TO INNOCENT PEOPLE AND THAT THEY WILL GO TILL THE ENDS OF THE WORLD TO PROVE IT.
In the meanwhile, it is so easy to be judgemental and to be critical of others- the lives of the Chamberlain Family were plagued by various innuendoes, false rumour-mongering and malicious gossip. At a time when they were so highly in need of a comforting hand and basic moral support, all that their neighbours and fellow-citizens could give them was their hatred and spite for a mother who they judged as being a cold-hearted and cold-blooded murderer. The fact that Lindy would not demure in front of the jury and the fact that she portrayed herself as being cold and unfeeling, led to her initial conviction and consequent imprisonment. Yet, we have no idea what she and her family have been through since Azaria’s untimely and tragic death. It is so easy to judge others, yet we have not walked even a mile in their shoes nor have we been through what they have been through. Who are we, therefore, to judge others and believe ourselves to be so righteous and benevolent, when we ourselves are ridden with our own faults and our own mistakes?
Let this true story be a lesson to us all – kindness costs nothing; we should forget our petty differences, our malice, our bitterness and our hatred for each other, in the face of a world where unity and brotherhood could reign supreme. We could all ‘put in our tiny little bit’ in making this world a better place to live in – in the end, however, it’s our decision and everything depends upon each one of us.
LET US ALL WORK TOGETHER – UNITED AS ONE – IN MAKING THIS WORLD A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE IN. LET US ALL PUT OUR HEADS AND OUR MINDS TOGETHER IN MAKING THIS OUR REALITY.
LET OUR MOTTO THIS DAY BE: “United We Stand; United Shall We Fall.”