In the 10 years since Keli Lane has been in the spotlight regarding the disappearance of her two-day-old baby, her parents, Sandra and Robert, have remained silent.
Throughout the years, their daughter has been described in headlines as a ‘Baby Killer’, a ‘Psychopath’, and an ‘Evil Monster’, was convicted of killing her baby Tegan, and sentenced to a minimum 13½ years in jail.
So what do Sandra and Robert Lane think happened to baby Tegan? And do they think their daughter is guilty of her murder?
On Sunday night’s 60 minutes, Keli’s parents broke their silence. Sandra and Robert, aged 67 and 70 respectively, naturally shy away from the media. But they spoke to Allison Langdon because they believe their daughter, now 40 years old, and five years into her sentence, should be free.
Sandra and Robert say that the perception that their daughter was a child killer was there prior to her being convicted.
“She was demonised in the media,” Robert argues. “Ten years. There was nothing nice said about her.”
Keli has always maintained that Tegan isn’t dead, but that she gave her away to her father, Andrew Morris or Norris, when she was two days old.
And the Lanes believe this story.
“It sounds improbable,” says Sandra. “But… a lot of improbable things happen in life.”
They maintain that Keli “is a wonderful daughter. We love her dearly, even though we’ve been in a difficult position for many years.”
Sandra and Robert’s unconditional love for their daughter is unmistakable, but most of Australia wants answers to a number of questions that just don’t seem to add up. This was the Lanes’ opportunity to give us a detailed description of what they believe to be the truth.
“This was your daughter, living under your roof and you didn’t notice she was pregnant three times?”
Robert says, “some people indicated they had suspicions, but we didn’t know, and if you don’t know, you don’t know – it’s as simple as that.”
Sandra reiterates, “at the time, fashion-wise, you didn’t wear tight clothes – it was just all baggy gear – and seeing as she spent most of her time in, like, tracksuits and whatever going to and from training and all the rest of it, I mean, nobody knew. That can happen with people. I mean, they have cases where women get a stomach pain, they think, and they go and have a baby, so…”
“Why do you think Keli felt she couldn’t confide in you?”
Robert says, “I believe that she was trying to protect us, our standing in the community. She’s trying to protect her standing in the community, and, possibly, the father’s. And for that reason alone.”
“Do you think Keli murdered her baby?”
“No. I don’t think she’d hurt anybody, to be truthful, especially a child,” says Sandra.
She continues, “It was broad daylight, for a start. Now, where is she going to ‘dump’ a child in broad daylight, in such a short time frame?”
“Why did you stay silent?”
Sandra responds, “We’re private people. How do you, sort of, manage to say, “Look, just, would you please listen to anything we have to say,” because I just felt that, you know, they weren’t interested in that anyway.”
Robert reiterates, “No. And it was probably, further, that, you know, they [the media] bullied us, intimidated us.”
Keli is currently fighting to get home to her child, and in the meantime, Robert and Sandra are helping to raise their granddaughter. They’re desperately waiting for see Keli free.
Whether it’s next week or in years to come, that’s what we’re waiting for,” says Robert.
Ultimately, Sandra and Robert hope that the interview might help in shifting public opinion about their daughter.
Robert says, “I’d like to think that some people who had a poor view about my daughter, might change their view or might give it some more thought, and we hope that by doing this, it’ll support any action being taken at the moment to have the matter looked at again.”
60 minutes also spoke to forensic criminologist, Dr Xanthe Mallett, about Keli Lane’s case. You can watch some of the interview here.