11 Jan 2017

Chamberlains treated terribly over daughter's death - Sam Neill

12:53 pm on 11 January 2017

New Zealand actor Sam Neill says Michael and Lindy Chamberlain were treated terribly by the press, the public and the justice system over the death of their baby daughter, Azaria.

Sam Neill

Sam Neill Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The death of Mr Chamberlain at the age of 72 has stirred memories of one of Australia's most sensational criminal cases.

The Chamberlains - both New Zealanders - always said Azaria was snatched by a dingo in the outback in 1980, but Mrs Chamberlain was convicted of murder and her husband of being an accessory after the fact.

The Chamberlains were exonerated in 1988 after part of Azaria's clothing was found near a dingo lair.

Sam Neill, who played Mr Chamberlain in the film Evil Angels, told RNZ News he met him in 1987 before shooting began, they then visited the set, and saw them again after the film.

He had suffered an injustice and lost a child, he said.

"Michael was a very quiet, very dignified man and I am very sad today that Michael has died," he said.

Lindy and Michael Chamberlain and their sons Aidan and Reagan.

Lindy and Michael Chamberlain and their sons, Aidan and Reagan. Photo: File photo

"There was never any question in my mind that he, and indeed both the Chamberlains, were entirely innocent and much wronged," Neill said.

Their story was "curiously current" in the climate of false news and conspiracy theories, Mr Neill said.

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