Convicted baby killer Keli Lane has broken her 15-year silence, telling the ABC she believes her daughter Tegan is still alive and may now be old enough to come forward.
The 43-year-old has spoken publicly for the first time from inside Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre, making a series of phone calls to the ABC’s new investigative documentary series Exposed.
She is serving an 18-year sentence for murdering her newborn baby two days after giving birth in September 1996.
Despite police investigations and a coronial inquiry, Tegan’s body was never found. This September marks 22 years since Tegan Lane disappeared.
To coincide with ABC TV’s Exposed, we’ll be using Messenger to recreate the day Keli Lane’s daughter Tegan disappeared. Tap to sign up.
In dozens of six-minute conversations – the maximum call time allowed by the jail – Lane said she believes she can clear her name.
“The biggest hope for me is that someone comes forward with my daughter,” Lane said.
She’d be an adult now. So she obviously has had a whole life perhaps not knowing she is my child.
“I don’t want to interrupt her life, I don’t necessarily even need to meet her, but obviously for my own family, for myself, I want to show that I did not harm her. And I certainly did not kill her.”
The recorded phone conversations with Lane will form part of the upcoming Exposed series by award-winning ABC investigative journalists Caro Meldrum-Hanna and Elise Worthington.
Lane admits she was a serial liar
Lane, who was 21 at the time of Tegan’s birth, attended hospital alone to give birth.
A police officer involved in the coronial investigation said Lane told a series of lies to hospital staff about why she was without any support at the time she gave birth.
“It was lie here, deception there; lie here, trying to cover her tracks continuously,” Inspector Rebbecca Becroft told Exposed.
“The amount of lies she told, half-truths she told – it was massive, absolutely massive.”
Lane told Exposed she concealed her pregnancies to protect her parents from shame and humiliation, adding that she was “young and frightened”.
From a young age she had been trained to “hide what was hurting her” and she had learnt how to be “different things to different people”, she said.
“It was a carelessness and a lack of self-protection.
“And then drinking a lot, drinking and not using the pill correctly. Or not asking my partner to use protection. And not having control, I think is the biggest thing – not having control of the situations I was in.”
The three-part documentary series will air on ABC TV, beginning at 8.30pm on Tuesday September 25.
Lane was found guilty of Tegan’s murder in 2010 in a high-profile trial which exposed the web of lies Lane spun to conceal multiple pregnancies.
Lane’s other unwanted pregnancies ended in abortions and adoptions, but she maintained Tegan was handed to the baby’s biological father in an arranged handover at Auburn Hospital days after the birth.
“Although it may seem unusual to everyone else, 21 years ago they’re the steps I took and I safely gave her to her father,” she said.
“I want to clear my name. I want to show the public that’s what happened.”
Lane initially told police the father’s name was Andrew Morris, a man from Balmain in Sydney’s inner west, who she claimed to have had an affair with for several months.
But she later said his name was Andrew Norris, a discrepancy which further aroused police suspicions she was lying about what happened.
Police never found Andrew Morris/Norris, and the identity of Tegan’s biological father remains a mystery.
What police did discover was a pattern of deception Lane used to conceal her pregnancies from family and friends.