Keli Lane
Keli Lane has been denied parole after being found guilty in 2010 of murdering her baby daughter. Image by Jeremy Piper/AAP PHOTOS
  • crime, law and justice

Baby-killer Lane knocked back parole in ‘no body’ test

March 22, 2024

A woman convicted of killing her baby daughter has been denied a bid for freedom after parole authorities ruled she had not helped police track down the location of the infant’s body.

Keli Lane, 48, was convicted in 2010 in one of Australia’s most notorious criminal cases after a jury found her guilty of murdering her newborn daughter Tegan in September 1996. 

She was sentenced to a maximum of 18 years in prison, however she was eligible for parole from May 12 after spending 13 and a half years behind bars.

But the NSW State Parole Authority on Friday knocked back her first bid for release in a test of so-called “no body, no parole” laws introduced in 2022.

Keli Lane (centre)
 Keli Lane (centre) was sentenced to up to 18 years in prison but was eligible for parole in May. Image by Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS 

The laws require the parole authority to consider a report from the police commissioner about the offender’s co-operation with their searches as well as the offender’s capacity to co-operate. 

Because Tegan’s body had never been found, the authority found Lane should be refused parole solely based on the legislation.

“The report provided by the NSW Police made it clear that no co-operation had been forthcoming from the offender in relation to Tegan’s whereabouts since her verdict and sentence,” the authority said in a statement. 

“The authority is not satisfied that the offender has co-operated satisfactorily in police investigations, or other actions, to identify the location of Tegan.”

Lane has maintained she gave Tegan to the infant’s father, a man named Andrew Norris or Morris, soon after giving birth at Sydney’s Auburn Hospital.

Extensive police investigations failed to locate Tegan or the man Lane named as her father, with whom the former champion water polo player said she had a brief relationship.

The body of the two-day-old baby has never been found.

Keli Lane
 NSW Police said Keli Lane had not co-operated with searches for her daughter Tegan’s body. Image by Paul Miller/AAP PHOTOS 

In its report to the parole board, NSW Police said Lane had not satisfied legal requirements for parole because she had not co-operated with searches for Tegan’s body. 

“To date, the offender has never admitted to murdering and disposing of her child’s body,” the report said.

“Therefore, in my opinion, the absence of any truthful co-operation by the offender does not satisfy this section of the legislation.”

The parole authority heard submissions from Lane’s legal representatives in a closed hearing on Friday.

Lane has served time in some of the state’s toughest prisons including Silverwater, Dillwynia and Clarence Correctional Centre.

The “no body, no parole” laws came into effect in NSW in October 2022, more than a decade after her conviction. 

Under the laws, introduced in response to the murder of Sydney mother Lynette Dawson, the parole board is required to consider a report from the police commissioner about the offender’s co-operation in finding the location of a victim’s body.

The authority cannot grant parole unless it is satisfied an offender has provided satisfactory help.