Sunday, May 8, 2011

The child who never was...looking for Tegan Lane by Allison Langdon.

This is the first of two books I have just finished reading on this utterly mind blowing and baffling case that originates in the lovely beach side suburb of Manly in Sydney, New South Wales.  It was written by Langdon at the conclusion of the Coronial Inquest into the whereabouts of Tegan Lee Lane who was born on September 12th 1996 at Auburn Hospital clear across town from where her mother actually lived,she has not been seen since Keli discharged herself and Tegan from Auburn Hospital two days later. Keli minus Tegan attended a wedding in Manly just 2 hours later with her then boyfriend Duncan Gillies.
This book delves into the circumstances of Tegan`s birth and the births of children No 1 and No 3 who were adopted out, and the lies, secrets and deceptions that shrouded the private life of this top class sportswoman from an upright Manly family,it records in a very readable narrative the detail of the Coronial Inquest that convened in 2005.  Keli was a social butterfly par excellence,nothing stopped her including pregnancy and yes no one who knew her claims to have ever known she was pregnant, let alone gave birth including her boyfriend, her parents, brother and a multitude of friends, no one thought to question erratic behaviour and unusual weight gains, no one questioned where she was when she went of to give birth and to this day no one including her now ex husband claims to have had any indepth conversations with Keli about any of these matters,when shown to be a devious liar, they all insist they believe her stories, her tales and fabrications,she would according to them find it too upsetting to talk about.
The story of Tegan would never have come to light if an observant DOCS worker hadn`t started to make enquires when Keli began the process of having Baby No 3 adopted out in 1999, despite a hospital having a record of the birth,there was no registration and no sign of Tegan at all and Keli was very reluctant to give a believable all tumbled out, lie after lie, story after story and Langdon does a great job of weaving all together in a fair and even handed, balanced account of a Woman and a Story that wrought havoc in the lives of so many,the carnage of her train wreck leaves you gasping but on and on it went, she would not take the stand at the Coronial Enquiry much to the exasperation of the Coroner, John Abernethy whose only goal was to find Tegan.  After many lines of enquiry were exhausted, the supposed father and child could not be found and while there is a chance that Tegan was given to her birth father and lives under an assumed name John Abernethy came to the conclusion that Tegan was dead and that the matter needed to be referred onto Homicide for an in depth investigation and to see if there were grounds to try Keli Lane for murder.In December 2010 Keli Lane was found guilty of the murder of Tegan and has now been sentenced to 18 years in jail, she also refused to take the stand in her trial (as is her right) and while her lawyer appeals her conviction you wonder if she will ever publicly stand up and tell her story, whatever it may actually be.
The second book was Nice Girl by Racheal Jane Chin which was a much more in depth look at Keli Lanes supposed golden life and what may have made her tick but ultimately Chin can really offer no more explanation than the rest of us as to why this blonde haired,attractive,talented young woman with so much going for her lost it all to a web of lies and deceit that defy imagination or does she?  Well I actually think Chin has dug deeper than at first appears and without pointing fingers she digs away and chips away at the superficiality of a life lived on the beach, characterised by hard work and sporting achievement over layered with a propensity for heavy drinking and repeat pregnancies. Tegans father is unknown, she did not have the Guthrie Test and so no DNA on the paternal side is available unlike with No 1 and No3, whose unaware fathers have had their lives toppled by the unexpected revelations. Her sense of bewilderment and wonderment at the predicaments she finds herself in is unbelievable until you realise that her whole entire life seems to have glided by in a sense of entitlement,a Policeman's daughter gave her suitable respect,as did her family's sporting and social contacts and in the reading you come to the conclusion that until last December Keli Lane had never ever been held accountable for anything in life, someone else was always at fault or in the wrong and in her golden circle she was the protected, pampered princess, the one to support, bolster and appease and everyone did, even with this understanding one is left baffled that at no time did Keli Lane ever approach her Mother, an experienced registered nurse and say I`m in trouble and need help (2 early abortions and 3 pregnancies) or equally why the hell didn`t her mother notice a pregnancy or 3 when her daughter lived at home, equally baffling is that Keli Lane appears to have never apologised to anyone whose name she misused or whose life she wrecked...then she doesn`t have to, shes a Nice Girl.

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