Keli Lane breaks her silence on the murder of baby Tegan
An explosive new TV series reinvestigates her case
By Stephen Downie
September 20 2018
It was one of Australia's most controversial murder cases - and also one of the most perplexing.
Tegan Lee Lane was born on September 12, 1996, at Sydney's Auburn hospital. This much we know. Two days later, the newborn vanished and was never seen again.
Her mother, former water polo champion Keli Lane, was convicted of killing Tegan on Dec. 10, 2010, and is currently serving an 18-year sentence at Silverwater prison.
But Lane, 43, has always vehemently denied murdering Tegan. She says she gave the baby to the girl’s father, an Andrew Morris or Norris, whom no-one has been able to locate.
Is Keli Lane telling the truth or not?
Complicating matters is the fact that Lane is, investigators claim, a serial liar.
Now, 22 years after Tegan Lee Lane disappeared investigative journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna is shining a light on the case once again in the three-part series, Exposed: The Case of Keli Lane, which starts Tues., Sept. 25, on ABC.
And what's uncovered, she says, may well turn "upside-down" everything previously known about the case.
“It’s a case of maybe Keli Lane is telling the truth,” Meldrum-Hanna hints. “The door of possibility is flung open.”
Lane’s story, rife with sex, secrets and lies, has always captivated the public. Born and has always captivated the public. Born and raised in Manly, on Sydney’s northern beaches, Lane was a “golden girl” from a well-known sporting family with a big group of friends. Her father, Robert, was a senior police officer. Her mother, Sandra, coached Lane’s water-polo team.
'Lucid, logical and calm...'
But apparently no-one knew that Lane, just 21 at the time Tegan was born, was even pregnant. In fact, she became pregnant five times over seven years. She terminated her first two pregnancies and put two babies up for adoption. In her trial, prosecutors argued Lane killed Tegan so she could pursue her dream of competing at the Sydney Olympics.
Ultimately, what Meldrum-Hanna wanted was to find the truth in the tangled web of lies. “There was so much grey, and darkness and secrets with this case,” Meldrum-Hanna says.
“Tegan has never been found dead or alive. Where did she go?”
In late 2016, Meldrum-Hanna was working at Four Corners when, out of the blue, she received a handwritten letter. She couldn’t quite believe it when she realised the letter was from Lane.
“I thought it was a hoax,” she recalls. It turned out that Lane had been watching Meldrum’s reports for Four Corners and she now wanted the journalist to investigate her case.
“There was so much she wanted to tell me,” Meldrum-Hanna says. “The way the trial was run was madness, in her opinion.”
But the thing that Lane stressed to Meldrum- Hanna was she was “absolutely adamant” her child was still alive.
“She believed the man that took Tegan was out there and she was desperate for him to come forward to prove her innocence.”
Meldrum-Hanna’s first phone call with Lane was some months later. She admits she was expecting Lane to be “possibly aggressive, defensive, delusional and in denial”.
What she found was someone who was “lucid, who was logical and who was calm”. Meldrum-Hanna was hooked – she agreed to investigate the case on condition that Lane understood this may not go in her favour. “This could all prove you guilty,” she told Lane.
'My baby is still alive'
So began the meticulous process of picking apart Lane’s case. The deeper she delved, the more surprised Meldrum-Hanna was by what she’s found.
“When I began this, I had great faith in the criminal justice system,” she says. “This woman was found guilty by the jury. I believed that must have been the correct verdict. Now, with our discoveries, I’ve been thrown into a totally different place.”
Whether this series could lead to Lane’s case being reinvestigated by police remains to be seen. Meldrum-Hanna insists her intention was to test Lane’s claims. “All I can do is rip things apart, rattle a cage, dig, dig, dig and present it to Australia,” she says.
Read the full story in this week's issue of WHO, on sale now.