Convicted Australian killer mum loses appeal

Last updated 18:56 13/12/2013

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Convicted child killer Keli Lane sat alone in a Sydney prison hyperventilating after receiving the news she had been dreading.

She had just lost her appeal, meaning she will likely remain at Silverwater Women's Correctional Centre until at least 2024.

"She had trouble actually breathing," her lawyer Ben Archbold told reporters outside the NSW Supreme Court on Friday.

Moments earlier, Chief Justice Tom Bathurst, Justice Carolyn Simpson and Justice Christine Adamson had dismissed her appeal.

Their decision came three years, almost to the minute, since a jury found her guilty of killing her newborn baby Tegan.

The crown argued Lane killed Tegan after leaving Auburn Hospital with the newborn in September 1996.

The 38-year-old then went to her parents' home, before attending a wedding that afternoon.

She was jailed in 2011 for at least 13 years and five months for the murder of two-day-old Tegan, with a maximum term of 18 years.

Lane has always maintained she gave Tegan to the infant's father, with whom she had a brief affair and who she said was called Andrew Norris or Morris.

But the child has never been found.

She appealed her conviction on eight grounds, including that an alternative count of manslaughter should have been open to the jury.

In their written reasons, the judges said there was "strong evidence" that Lane did not wish to accept responsibility for a child.

"It was the deliberate act of the appellant who caused the death of Tegan Lane," they said.

"She mentioned nothing to anybody about the birth of Tegan.

"... we are satisfied that the verdict of guilty was amply open to the jury, and we are satisfied that the evidence established beyond reasonable doubt the appellant's guilt of the offence."

Her parents, retired NSW police inspector Robert Lane and his wife Sandra, were not in court, nor was her boyfriend Patrick Cogan.

Her trial heard Lane had two terminations as a teenager and kept three pregnancies and births secret from her family and friends.

Tegan was the middle child of the three secret babies, with the other two offered for adoption.

The crown contended the then 21-year-old murdered her child because she would have interfered with her sporting, sex and social life.

John Borovnik, the Department of Community Services worker who first reported baby Tegan missing, said justice had been done.

"I'm just so, so, so glad," he told reporters outside court.

Mr Archbold said he planned to comb through the 100-page judgment for any avenues for further appeal to the High Court.

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Lane maintained her innocence, he said.


- AAP

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