Why we love true crime — and how that passion may help our legal system

It's no secret that Australians have a growing appetite for true crime which is seeing us lap up series like The Teacher's Pet, TraceUnravel and Exposed: The Case of Keli Lane

A recent survey by the ABC showed almost half of Australian podcast consumers recently listened to true crime, with the trend strongest among women. 

But why are we so obsessed with these stories? And is that obsession helping us develop a deeper understanding of the justice system? 

RMIT University's Michele Ruyters, who was featured in Exposed, likens our want to solve crimes to the desire to finish a difficult puzzle or crossword.

"At heart I think people really love being detectives," she says.

"There's just something about the innate human curiosity wanting to look at a problem and attempt a solution."

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Keli Lane: Investigation reveals police never interviewed potential witnesses in murdered baby case

It was one of the major holes in Keli Lane's defence — no witness had ever seen her at the Sydney unit block she claims to have visited multiple times for sex with "Andrew".

Police found no evidence to support Lane's story about an affair with the father of her missing baby, the man she claimed had Tegan.

Now the ABC's new documentary series Exposed has found a former resident who was never interviewed during the police investigation, and who has identified Lane as the "sandy-haired girl" he saw leaving the building on multiple occasions late at night.

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Convicted baby killer Keli Lane’s mission to clear her name

CONVICTED baby killer Keli Lane is on a desperate mission to prove her innocence and she has a growing army of supporters trying to help her clear her name.

Researchers from RMIT University’s Bridge of Hope Innocence Initiative have been quietly and painstakingly sifting through hundreds of pages of evidence and trial notes since receiving an impassioned letter from Lane in 2015.

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Exposed: The Keli Lane Tapes

t’s not every day you receive a handwritten letter from a convicted baby killer asking you to reinvestigate their case.

She wanted me to apply an investigative journalist’s blowtorch to her claims, warts and all.

Why? Because Keli Lane says she’s innocent, that Tegan would now be 22 years old, that she’s out there somewhere, and that the man who she handed Tegan over to is out there as well. But Lane has also been found to be a serial liar.

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ABC's Exposed: Was Keli Lane wrongly convicted of murdering her baby?

It is impossible to watch Exposed: The Case of Keli Lane (ABC, Tuesdays 8.30pm from September 25) without thinking of some mighty predecessors – the podcast Serial, the Netflix series Making a Murderer, and HBO's The Jinx among them. Such comparisons could be a curse, but for the most part this three-part Australian true-crime re-investigation holds its own (and suffers far less from the tendency to pad).

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SEX. MURDER. SECRETS. LIES. A missing baby. Her mother behind bars.

Award-winning journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna in her most gripping investigation yet. In this ground-breaking three-part television event, EXPOSED: The Case of Keli Lane, Caro Meldrum-Hanna investigates one of Australia’s most notorious crimes: the disappearance of two-day old Tegan Lane and the conviction of her mother Keli Lane of her murder.

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