Every avenue of enquiry in the search for the father of Keli Lane’s missing baby daughter, Tegan, ultimately led investigators down a blind alley.
Lane, who was sentenced to 18 years in jail for the murder of Tegan in 2011, has always protested her innocence and stood by her story.
She maintains her two-day-old baby was handed over to the child’s father, a man she first named as Andrew Morris — before correcting the surname to “Norris”.
A police search of records from organisations including the Australian Electoral Commission, the Tax Office, and registries of births, deaths and marriages revealed scores of men named Andrew Norris or Andrew Morris.
But police have never been able to find the man in question.
The inevitable conclusion was that Andrew was another false lead in Keli Lane’s long trail of lies and deceptions over the years.
The second episode of Exposed: The Case of Keli Lane, ABC TV’s three-part investigation into the case, re-examines the evidence about Andrew Norris. If he is a real person, who was he and where is he now?
Find Andrew Norris and we’re one step closer to discovering what happened to baby Tegan.
According to Lane, she had a brief affair with Andrew in late 1995 and early 1996. She said he lived in a unit on Wisbeach Street, in the inner Sydney suburb of Balmain and worked in the city in banking or finance.
Lane was still dating another boyfriend, Duncan Gillies, at the time so he never mixed with any of her other circle of friends.
They would meet at the Town Hall Hotel in Balmain, walk back to his unit for sex, after which she left for home.
In the conversations she had with the Exposed team from jail, she describes the relationship as one that was “just week-to-week”. Interactions between trysts were usually conducted on the phone.
“I would call him or … not so much him calling me. It was usually me chasing him,” Lane told Exposed.
In police interviews, Lane described her secret lover as around 178 cm (5 foot 10 inches), well-built, tanned and Caucasian.
Surprisingly, police never commissioned the drawing of a composite image, or comfit, of Andrew Norris.
“Certainly, one of the first things that we thought of when we took on the case is, ‘OK, well where’s the comfit?'” said Michele Ruyters, the director of The Bridge of Hope Innocence Initiative at RMIT University.
“I would have thought it completely logical [for the police] to get those details, get a photofit and broadcast it to the world. ‘Australia, have you seen this man?’ And job done.”
Now, for the first time, we are able to put a face to the name.
It’s a composite image sketched by retired police forensic artist Terry Dunnett after a two-hour-long, face-to-face interview with Keli Lane inside the Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre in Sydney’s west.
It’s a face Lane hopes will jog memories and unearth the man who she claims was given custody of her baby. It’s a face that may, ultimately, become a key to vindication and freedom.
“The general idea is that you tend to remember faces as a whole rather than as a group of individual features,” said Romina Palermo, an associate professor at the University of Western Australia’s School of Psychological Science.
According to Dunnett’s account of the description he was given, Andrew wasn’t a very distinctive looking person.
He said Keli Lane recalled him as someone with “a fairly square sort of face”.
According to Dunnett, women tend to recall hair better than men and Keli Lane described Andrew as “a blonde… not blonde. Mousey brown hair, spikey” with a slight widow’s peak.
“We added a few extra embellishments to it… as you do [at] the end of the drawing. She thought the hair was a bit more spiked.”
Dr Palermo says internal features of the face — such as the eyes, nose and mouth — have a better recognition factor than external feature such as hair and ears.
And, according to Keli Lane’s description, Andrew’s otherwise undistinguished face had one small extra feature on the bridge of his nose. She described it as a short, squat nose with a little scar on it that was hardly visible.
Scientific studies of face perception suggest the observation of other people’s eyes plays an important role in both the recognition and memory of faces.
Dunnett told Exposed that Lane’s memory of Andrew’s facial features did not include anything distinctive other than “really sort of steely blue eyes”.
Dunnett said Lane told him Andrew was always clean shaven, so that there was no facial hair obscuring the features of his lower face, the mouth and chin.
She told him Andrew’s lips were not prominent and that after identifying a shape from the book of facial features he brought with him to the interview, they adjusted the drawing of the mouth to be a little wider than standard.
Piecing together Lane’s memories… this is the never before seen image of the man who Lane insists took custody of baby Tegan.
Terry Dunnett was the Western Australia Police Force’s first forensic artist. He was a policeman for 31 years, the last 18 as a full-time forensic artist before retiring in 2006.
He has studied at the FBI Academy, designed the WA Police Force’s forensic imaging system and produced over 3,000 so-called comfit images over his career.
Dunnett visited Lane in Silverwater on June 12, 2018. He followed the same procedure he used when working as a policeman that is designed to gauge the honesty of the witness and lucidity of her memory.
Modern forensic artists rarely sketch any more. Instead they will use computer programs that are digital descendants of the Penry Facial Identification Technique — also known as Photo-FIT — a system invented by Jacques Penry.
Penry’s system, which was adopted by British police in the 1970s, enables the forensic artist to build an image of a suspect using a catalogue of black and white photographs of interchangeable facial features.
Although some modern versions of the comfit image use colour, Dunnett is old school. He believes colour is not crucial to a composite.
“Once you add in colour information you end up with a lot of diversion that you don’t need,” he says. “We get into eye colour and the tone of the skin and so and so, which is only down to lighting conditions anyway.”
But as he was not able to bring a computer into prison, Dunnett had to sketch the man described by Keli Lane. As a backup, he brought an old copy of an FBI composite image training manual to assist.
After the initial interview, Dunnett prepared a couple of rough thumb sketches before proceeding to a full-sized drawing.
Was Keli Lane telling the truth?
The ex-copper believes he has a pretty good bullshit detector.
When pressed, Dunnett describes Lane as a “very likable person”.
“She is very easy to talk to, she was quite forthcoming with her lifetime experiences,” he says. “If you met her down the street, you would think, ‘What a lovely lady’.”
While he admits he’s been duped a few times, he says he can be pretty sure within 45 minutes whether the interview is going to yield a reliable result.
“If you try and make [a face] up in your head as you go, there are certain sort of warnings and alarm bells that will go off when I’m talking to them,” he tells Exposed.
And the longer the time between seeing a face and recalling it, the harder it is to get it right.
“If you try to remember someone that you knew 20 years ago and you try to put a picture together without referring to photographs of them, you would probably find it really difficult unless it’s really burned in.”
Dunnett says the process involves more than just matching facial features to create a face. Part of the skill involves determining if the witness is telling the truth.
And he believes Keli Lane was giving him a truthful description.
“She was consistent throughout from the initial features that she selected to what we finished up with. She didn’t sway at all.”
As a yardstick, Dunnett asks witnesses to rate the likeness once he has completed the illustration. He says Keli ticked the “very good” box, the one below “excellent”.
“You’re never going to get 100 per cent portrait. You’ll get something that’s going to be a good likeness.”
The final episode of Exposed: The Case of Keli Lane airs on ABC TV next Tuesday at 8:30pm