Keli Lane was born in 1975 and grew up in a beautiful part of Sydney known as the northern beaches. She came from a good family, the daughter of a police officer.
Keli Lane was found guilty in 1996 of murdering her baby daughter ‘Tegan.’
This conviction is unusual as Tegan’s body has never been found.
We may never have heard of Keli Lane or Tegan if it wasn’t for the tenacity of a child protection worker, from the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. His name is John Borovnik, and he first came in contact with Keli Lane when she was seeking to adopt out her third child. He made some routine checks and that is when he stumbled upon an astounding discovery. Keli Lane had failed to tell authorities she’d already had two other children. And while the first child had been adopted out in 1995, Tegan, born a year later, seemed to have simply disappeared.
Borovnik said ‘Keli’s answers to questions about her daughter Tegan were just “no, all she said was “No” and repeated that and then said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” John alerted the police.
Keli Lane, a water polo champion, was keen on going to the Olympics, therefore a baby would impinge on her dreams of following this trajectory. After terminating two of her pregnancies, the third would be put up for adoption. She told the adoption agency she would not be a good parent if she did not try to achieve her potential. It is the second child, ‘Tegan’ who she would be found guilty of murdering. Keli managed to keep three pregnancies secret from her family and friends.
There was no trace of Tegan after Keli left Auburn Hospital, September 14, 1996. She did register Tegan to her medicare card on September 19, but there would be no claims for medical services for the child. She would later send police on a ‘wild goose chase’ telling them she handed Tegan to a businessman named Andrew Norris, the supposed father who arrived at Auburn Hospital with his mother and partner to take custody of the baby the day she checked out. Her lies continued and she also denied Tegan existed to saying the father and her were living in Perth.
Two hours after checking out of hospital, Keli is seen in photos attending a friend’s wedding on the other side of Sydney, with her then boyfriend, Duncan Gillies. She is captured in photos, smiling and having a good time. Duncan would later say he had no idea that Keli was pregnant.
One of Keli’s former water polo teammates, Stacey Gaylard , told the court of one training session in April or May 1996 where Keli wore a towel to the pool’s edge, then took it off only at the last minute before slipping into the water.
When Stacey and another player put on goggles and saw Keli underwater, they both formed the opinion she was pregnant.
Keli was a Physical Education teacher at an exclusive girl’s school on the North Shore called ‘Ravenswood.’ One of her former student’s said that ‘Ms Lane was the sort of teacher we all admired, you couldn’t put much past her, she treated us with respect and we respected her.’ The student did however notice at one point that her teacher was pregnant. The pupils and teachers of that school remain shocked, finding it hard to fathom that Keli Lane, the teacher who they loved is capable of such a heinous act.
Police recorded conversations on Keli’s phone. Sandra Lane confronts her daughter with the aim of finding out where ‘Tegan’ is. She says to Keli, ‘You’ve got to be telling the absolute truth, I’m telling you, ’cause it’s just so unlike a young bloke to want to raise a child. That’s the thing I just can’t sort of grip. But obviously that’s what you agreed. Isn’t it? ‘
Yeah. Well, I didn’t really have too many options’, Keli tells her mother, and says she made stupid choices, but says ‘I can’t tell you what sort of person I was then. … people didn’t even notice, people didn’t even care enough to ask, people, like, I honestly couldn’t trust to speak out to because my embarrassment was greater than my wanting to be helped.’
Judge Tedeshi said, ‘this was a situation where there was a relatively young pregnant woman who didn’t want to be pregnant, didn’t want to have a baby and who disposed of that baby by murdering it.’
In sentencing Keli Lane, he felt the courts have an obligation of deterrence. He stated that ‘Lane kept her pregnancy secret and had made no plans to take her baby home – quite clearly she intended to kill her baby.’ Keli was quite cocky throughout the trial, probably believing she would get off and once the verdict was read she fainted in court.
Keli Lane has exhausted all her appeals, yet still maintains her innocence.
She was given a sentence of 18 years for the murder of her daughter Tegan.
She will remain in prison until at least 2024.
For many, this case still baffles them, with no real answers. No body has ever been found and it is doubtful if Andrew Norris ever existed.
Keli’s daughter who is 14, visits her mother in gaol along with Keli’s parents who believe she is innocent. Her daughter’s father has since remarried.