Michael Chamberlain, whose daughter was killed by a dingo in Uluru in 1980, died yesterday. He was 72 years old.
Michael passed away after suffering complications from leukaemia. The case that involved him and his ex-wife, Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton, has received massive attention in Australia.
Family lawyer Stuart Tipple told the ABC that Michael, who fought for years to clear his family’s name in the case of his nine-month-old daughter’s killing, died in Gosford Hospital yesterday.
According to the prosecutors, Lindy and Michael were responsible for the killing of their daughter. While Lindy was charged with murder at a trial in 1982, Michael was convicted as an accessory after the crime. The incident, which occurred in August 1980, gave rise to one of the most sensational legal cases in Australia.
Lindy and Michael were on a camping trip when their daughter Azaria was taken by a dingo. Charged with Azaria’s disappearance, Lindy was sentenced to life in prison. Michael received a suspended sentence of 18 months.
After more than three decades, the matter was put to rest. It was concluded that Azaria was in fact taken and killed by a dingo while the family was on a campground in Urulu. “The cause of her death was as the result of being attacked and taken by a dingo,” coroner Elizabeth Morris told a Darwin inquest in 2012. “It is clear that there is evidence that a dingo is capable of attacking, taking and causing the death of young children.”
The couple was exonerated in 1988. They separated in 1990.
Michael earned his PhD in education in 2002. The following year, in 2003, he ran for the seat of Lake Macquarie in the election of New South Wales. He is also the author of three books.
After he was transported to the hospital last week, Michael’s wife, Ingrid Chamberlain, asked for prayers for her husband. “Everyone please pray for Michael, he suffered a lot of pain last night and Zahra took him to hospital, your prayers would be appreciated,” Ingrid posted on Facebook.
In a statement (via Sky News), Lindy asked that the family be given their privacy as they grieve Michael’s death. “I am on my way today to support and be with our children. Given Michael’s death was unexpected, I would ask that the media please consider that Michael’s wife and all of his children are deeply grieving and need some space,” she said.