Sentenced to a maximum of 18 years for the murder of her newborn daughter Tegan, champion water polo player Keli Lane has always protested her innocence.
It was a case that gripped Australia, but now the convicted murderer – who is still serving time in jail – is ready to start over … with a former flame.
A source reveals to New Idea that Keli has reunited with her ex-boyfriend Patrick Cogan – the man who stood by her through the trial in 2010 – and the pair are believed to be preparing for the wedding of her dreams.
Keli is also said to be ready to pick up her role as a mum to the teenage daughter she left behind when she went to jail.
“She does want to marry Patrick,” says a friend of the couple. “In an ideal situation, she’ll be home by Christmas and they can finally be together making up for all the lost time.”
Keli’s new hopes of finally saying ‘I do’ come after it was revealed that crucial new evidence has been uncovered, prompting urgent calls for a pardon – which means Keli may be home sooner than expected.
Patrick and Keli have a long history together, having dated as teenagers and then later reconnecting when her life was thrown into the spotlight during the investigation.
Keli was 34 years old when she was charged with the murder of Tegan. She’d given birth to the baby on September 12, 1996, and hospital records show that she was discharged two days later but the baby was never seen again. Keli went to a friend’s wedding that same afternoon and home videos show her arriving, looking carefree.
Newspapers reported that between the years of 1992 and 1999, she managed to conceal five pregnancies. The young teacher and talented sportswoman terminated two of these and went on to have three babies, two of whom she adopted out. Incredibly, she managed to keep it all a secret from the people in her life.
But her pregnancy with Tegan and the subsequent disappearance was the most perplexing. She insisted that she’d given baby Tegan to a man named Andrew Morris, with whom she’d had a brief affair. She later changed her story, saying his name was actually Andrew Norris.
Nobody of either name with baby Tegan was ever found, despite Australian police launching a huge manhunt.
Years later, Keli was found guilty of killing her 2-day-old daughter. But, despite her conviction, many people maintained she was innocent.
Dutiful Patrick was by her side during the court appearances, but after her 18-year sentence was handed down, Keli begged him to move on.
“It was awful. They were in love but she didn’t want him putting his life on hold and made him promise to move on,” the source claims.
With Keli wanting nothing more than to marry the man who has shown unwavering support since the trial, the source says she and Patrick have rekindled their relationship and are now making special plans for their future.
It seems the couple may also be given a second chance at starting a family of their own.
“Keli is 44 now and she didn’t think she would be released until she was almost 50, so of course they could never even consider having children together,” the source reveals.
“But now that could all change.”
With calls for a royal commission into police non-disclosure after thousands of secretly recorded intercepts were withheld from Keli’s defence team at her murder trial, the sports player must be on tenterhooks as she awaits any news.
While Patrick did start dating again at one stage, the source claims Keli was never far from his thoughts.
“They have written to each other for 13 years and he even visited her in jail,” says the friend.
“He 100 per cent believes she is innocent and needed her to know that.”
With her freedom hanging by a thread, Keli is said to be an emotional mess but is focusing
on the best possible outcome – her future with the man she loves.
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