Missing girl Tegan dead: Coroner
February 15, 2006 - The Australian
THE New South Wales Coroner is "comfortably satisfied" that missing Sydney girl
Tegan Lane is dead.
But Coroner John Abernethy said today there was not enough evidence to charge a
known person with her homicide.
He delivered his findings today after an lengthy inquest into Tegan's suspected
death. The girl has not been seen since she was discharged into the care of her
mother, Keli Lane, on September 14, 1996, two days after her birth at Auburn
Mr Abernethy told Westmead Coroner's Court he was "disturbed at the possibility
that Tegan may have met with foul play", but added it was possible the child was
However, he made the formal finding that Tegan died about 1996.
"As to the place, manner and cause of her death, the evidence adduced does not
enable me to say," Mr Abernethy said.
He recommended that the case be referred to the NSW Police Homicide Squad for
review or further investigation.
Ms Lane, now 30, kept Tegan's birth and those of two other children secret from
her family and friends.
The two other children were legally adopted out but when Tegan's birth was
discovered by authorities in 1999 she initially denied the baby's existence then
offered inconsistent versions of events.
In her latest account, she gave the newborn to Tegan's natural father, a man
named Andrew Norris, with whom she had had an affair.
Mr Norris, his de facto girlfriend Mel, and his mother collected the newborn
from Auburn Hospital, Ms Lane told police.
But nationwide searches have failed to find any trace of him or the child.
Mr Abernethy today said without the untruths and half truths Ms Lane had told
police, adoption agencies and social workers, her version of what happened to
Tegan was "possible, though unlikely".
"With those untruths ... I am completely unable to accept the final version
given by Keli Lane," he said.
Mr Abernethy said he found it "inherently unlikely that a man with whom (Ms
Lane) was having an affair, who already had a partner, who initially at least
was incredibly angry on learning she was pregnant, nevertheless was happy to
take the child".
"This is all the more unlikely because that man's cuckolded partner also
Earlier this week, Ms Lane exercised her legal right to silence when called to
give evidence at the inquest.
While Mr Abernethy acknowledged her right not to incriminate herself, he said
"the position is that without Keli Lane's evidence this court is unable to ...
make a final meaningful assessment as to whether this inherently unlikely
version of events may be true".
investigating disappearance of Tegan Lane dig under Gladesville house
A large-scale operation has begun at a Sydney house as part of inquiries into
the disappearance and suspected death of baby Tegan Lane.
Tegan disappeared soon after her mother, Keli, was discharged from Auburn
Hospital about 2pm on 14 September 1996.
A coronial inquest into the circumstances of baby Tegan's disappearance
concluded in early 2006. Former NSW Coroner John Abernethy ruled that Tegan was
deceased and referred the case to the NSW Police Force's Homicide Squad for
review and further investigation.
Strike Force Kullara was established by the Homicide Squad in October 2006 after
the review of the case was completed.
The case is now one of more than 190 that are the subject of further
investigation by the Unsolved Homicide Team.
Homicide Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Geoff Beresford, said today's
operation began with the execution of a crime scene warrant shortly before 10am.
"The Gladesville property was the home of one of Keli Lane's former boyfriends
and she is known to have attended this location briefly on the day she was
discharged from hospital.
"As a result of further inquiries over almost two years, we have uncovered
information which suggests Tegan's remains may be at this location," Detective
Superintendent Beresford said.
The home is now occupied by a family who have been relocated by the NSW Police
Force for the duration of the operation.
"Further investigation has been carried out by the detectives into the
disappearance and suspected death of Tegan Lane.
"Our inquiries have led us to the house in Venus Street, Gladesville, where an
operation has begun today to excavate under the home for possible remains.
"This work is expected to take up to a week and will also include a search of
the entire property," Detective Superintendent Beresford said.
At least 20 people are involved in the operation, led by the Unsolved Homicide
Team, with the assistance of officers from the Public Order and Riot Squad
(PORS), Police Rescue, and Forensic Services Group (FSG).
Detective Superintendent Beresford said, "As part of our ongoing inquiries, we
are appealing for help to identify people who might have seen or had contact
with Keli Lane while she was in Auburn Hospital between 12 and 14 September
Detectives are also keen to hear from any members of the public who might have
seen Keli Lane in the Auburn Hospital carpark on 14 September 1996.
Strike Force Kullara detectives can be contacted via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333
000. Information will be treated in the strictest confidence and can be
Is the body of baby
Tegan Lane under a house?
August 05, 2008 12:00am
IN Keli Lane's own words, she visited her former boyfriend's house in
Gladesville 12 years ago after handing her baby over to its natural father - a
man police have never been able to prove existed.
Now police believe those words may return to haunt her,
with a dig under that same weatherboard house to find missing baby Tegan Lane's
For the first time, a thorough excavation at the
property has been launched in an effort to ascertain once and for all whether
Tegan's remains are buried there.
The case of missing baby Tegan - who
would be 11 if she was still alive today - has fascinated Sydney, with a
painstaking national police search unable to find any record of the child.
In 2006, former State Coroner John Abernethy found
Tegan was dead but stopped short of finding she had met with foul play.
Dr Denise Donlon,
accompanied by police and cadaver dogs, yesterday began sifting through the soil
underneath the Venus St home , which neighbours say underwent extensive
renovations from 2004.
When two-day-old Tegan was discharged from Auburn
Hospital on September 14, 1996, Ms Lane's then-boyfriend and footballer Duncan
Gillies owned and lived in the Venus St home, which has since changed ownership.
Cadaver dogs were used in a 2005 search, without
But a two-year review of the case led to police gaining
new information which pointed to the location, Detective Superintendent Geoff
"It is known that Keli Lane frequented this house prior
to the birth of Tegan and we believe she may have visited there shortly after
leaving Auburn Hospital," he said.
Ms Lane told police during a previous interview she
stopped by Mr Gillies' home that day.
She claimed to have handed the child over to her
natural father, an Andrew Norris, who has never been found, before catching a
cab to Gladesville.
Ms Lane also gave birth to two other children in secret
in the 1990s and legally adopted them out. She kept a fourth child she bore with
Ms Lane could not be found at her parent's Fairlight
home yesterday, with her former policeman father Robert ordering media from the
at Gladesville concludes - Unsolved Homicide Team
A five day police operation at a Gladesville house, conducted as part of ongoing
inquiries into the suspected death of baby Tegan Lane, was finalised at 5pm
A number of items have been located during the operation which will be subjected
to further forensic analysis to determine their relevance to the ongoing
Strike Force Kullara detectives are continuing to investigate the disappearance
and suspected death of baby Tegan Lane and are renewing their appeal for
Since the operation began on Monday, detectives have received a number of calls
from members of public with new information. This information has provided
detectives with additional lines of inquiry, which are being investigated.
Meanwhile detectives are renewing their appeal for information from the public
about the disappearance of baby Tegan.
Detectives are also urging anyone who might have seen Keli Lane in the Auburn
Hospital carpark on 14 September 1996 to contact police.
Strike Force Kullara detectives can be contacted via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333
000. Information will be treated in the strictest confidence and can be provided
Bones found in hunt for Tegan
Dylan Welch - SMH
August 9, 2008
POLICE found small bones during their week-long search for the remains of
newborn Tegan Lane, but are not sure if they are human.
Officers, a forensic archaeologist and cadaver dogs
have been undertaking a forensic excavation of a cottage in Gladesville to find
the remains of the baby who went missing 12 years ago - two days after her
mother, Keli Lane, gave birth. Police said they found several items during the
operation, which will be further analysed to "determine their relevance".
The Herald understands the items include bone
fragments, although police will have to wait for tests to determine whether they
were those of a small baby or an animal. On Monday police cordoned off the house
on Venus Street, where Ms Lane's one-time boyfriend was living when Tegan
disappeared. A forensic archaeologist, Dr Denise Donlon, and officers sifted
through soil under the house.
Ms Lane, a former representative water polo player and
teacher at Ravenswood School for Girls in Gordon, gave birth to Tegan on August
Three years later it was discovered that, although the
birth had been recorded, there was no sign of the infant.
At first Ms Lane denied Tegan's existence but later
recanted. Police were unable to find the father, and now doubt his existence. It
was eventually revealed that Ms Lane had given birth to three children between
1995 and 1999, all of whom were kept secret from her family and her boyfriend.
The other two children were given up for adoption.
At a subsequent coronial inquiry a state coroner John
Abernethy found Ms Lane's "litany of lies" had made it impossible to discover
the truth. It was ruled that Tegan died in 1996.
Ex-officio indictment issued for alleged murder of
baby in 1996 ó Unsolved Homicide Team
Thursday, 19 Nov 2009 10:25am
An ex-officio indictment has been issued in relation to the alleged murder of a
baby girl in 1996.
Unsolved Homicide Squad detectives have been advised that the Department of
Public Prosecutions has served the indictment for murder on a 34-year-old
Northern Beaches woman.
The charges relate to the alleged murder of two-day-old girl who was last seen
alive at Auburn Hospital on 14 September 1996.
The woman will appear at the Supreme Court on 4 December 2009.
Strike Force Kullara comprises detectives from the State Crime Commandís
Unsolved Homicide Squad and was established to investigate the circumstances
surrounding the death.
PROSECUTORS cannot prove that Keli Lane's missing child Tegan
Lane is dead, the NSW Supreme Court has been told.
In his opening address to a jury today, Ms Lane's defence counsel
Keith Chapple said the crown was relying on ``theories and speculation'' in
attempting to prove its case.
Ms Lane has pleaded not guilty to murdering baby Tegan, who
disappeared following her birth in September 1996.
Prosecutors have alleged that Ms Lane - who covered up five
pregnancies over seven years - wanted to be ``permanently rid'' of Tegan so
that she could pursue her dream to represent Australia at the Olympics in
But Mr Chapple said the crown could not establish a motive for Tegan's
murder, or even whether the child was dead.
``Our case is that they can't prove how, when, where, or even why Keli
Lane would murder her newborn child,'' Mr Chapple said. ``Further, they
can't prove if the child is dead (or) the manner of her death.''
Earlier in court today, crown prosecutor Mark Tedeschi withdrew a
suggestion that Ms Lane may have disposed of Tegan's body at the Homebush
Olympic site in Sydney two days after the baby's birth.
The crown has alleged Ms Lane disposed of Tegan's body in the three
hours between leaving Auburn Hospital, in Sydney's west, where Tegan was
born, and her arrival at her parents' house in Fairlight, where Ms Lane
prepared to attend a wedding.
``There is no evidence at all as to what happened to Tegan during
those three hours... it would not be appropriate for you to speculate about
what may have happened during that time,'' Mr Tedeschi told the jury. ``I
ought not to have speculated about the Olympic site because the Olympic site
was never searched.''
The trial, before judge Anthony Whealy, continues.
Boyfriend 'unaware Lane was pregnant'
12:27 AEST Mon Aug 23 2010
The former boyfriend of water
polo player Keli Lane did not know she was pregnant or that she gave birth
during their relationship, a jury has been told.
The man said after their first date on April 29, 1994, he "became very
attached to Keli very quickly".
Within six weeks he was already thinking of the "big M" - marriage -
and he believed she felt the same way.
The former footballer was giving evidence at the NSW Supreme Court
trial of Lane, 35, who has pleaded not guilty to murdering her second baby,
two-day-old Tegan Lane, on September 14, 1996.
The jury has been told Lane kept that pregnancy and two others secret,
and adopted out another two infants.
Under questioning from prosector Mark Tedeschi QC, the man said that
during 1994 he did not become aware of Lane being pregnant or her being in
her last trimester in early 1995.
He also said he had been unaware she had gone to a hospital to give
birth on the night he, she and others were at a pub after she played a water
polo final that day.
The man said they had a regular sex life, but he recalled they did
change the way in which they had sex.
Instead of the missionary position with him on top, they used the
"spooning" position where they were both on their sides, he said.
He could not recall who initiated this practice.
But he had a "vague recollection" of trying to put his arm around her
waist but she stopped him, commenting she was "not proud" of weight she had
Their relationship in 1995 had been "a normal, loving, open, honest
relationship", he said.
The hearing is continuing before Justice Anthony Whealy.