Woman jailed over deaths of her four children pardoned and freed after 20 years

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A woman once dubbed “AustraliaThe ‘worst female serial killer ever’ has been pardoned and dramatically freed from prison after 20 years in prison after authorities admitted there was doubt over whether she killed her four children.

Kathleen Folbig, now 55, was two decades into a 25-year sentence after pleading guilty to the murder of her daughters Sarah and Laura and son Patrick and the murder of another son, Caleb. All four died suddenly between 1989 and 1999, aged between 19 days and 19 months. Prosecutors had alleged that Folbig had suffocated them, although scientists now believe there is evidence that they may have died of natural causes. Folbig has always maintained his innocence.

The New South Wales (NSW) state Attorney General stated, “There is a reasonable doubt about Foulbig’s guilt for the murder of her child Caleb, the causing of grievous bodily harm to her child Patrick and the murder of her children Patrick, Sarah and Laura”. ” Michael Daly said. “Furthermore, I am unable to accept the proposition that the evidence establishes that Ms Folbig was anything other than a caring mother to her children.”

Mr Daly said NSW Governor Margaret Beazley had granted an unconditional pardon, allowing Folbigg to be released from prison on Monday.

“Given what’s happened over the last 20 years, it’s impossible not to feel sympathy for Kathleen and [her former husband] Craig Folbig,” Mr Daly said.

While Folbig is freed from prison, his conviction still stands. The Court of Appeal is still waiting for a final report which could recommend they be scrapped altogether, a process which could take weeks – the court’s own processes can also take months. If her sentence is overturned, she could potentially sue the government for millions of pounds in damages.

Previous appeals – and an investigation in 2019 – suggested that there was no basis for reasonable doubt in the original 2003 guilty verdict. However, a renewed investigation led by former Chief Justice Thomas Bathurst was launched last year after a growing body of evidence suggested a rare genetic mutation could have caused the deaths of two of Folbigg’s daughters.

Mr. Bathurst’s Inquiry The order was made in the wake of a petition signed by 90 scientists, medical practitioners and related professionals, which said it was “based on significant positive evidence of natural causes of death”.

The council, which assisted with the investigation, Sophie Callan, said expert evidence in the fields of cardiology and genetics indicated that the CALM2-G114R genetic variant was “a very likely cause” of the daughters’ sudden deaths. Ms Callan said myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, was also a “reasonably probable cause” of Laura’s death.

As for Patrick, Ms Callan said there was “persuasive expert evidence that, as a reasonable probability, an underlying neurogenetic disorder” caused his sudden death.

Ms Callen said the scientific evidence raised doubts that Folbig killed the three children and undermined the argument made in Caleb’s case that the deaths of the four children were an improbable coincidence.

“The result today is confirmation that our judicial system is capable of delivering justice, and shows that the rule of law is an important foundation of our democratic system,” Mr Daly said.

Prosecutors told the jury at Folbig’s trial that the similarities between the deaths made coincidence an unlikely explanation. Folbig was home alone or awake when the young children died. She said she discovered three of the deaths during trips to the bathroom and one while checking on the well-being of a child.

Prosecutors also told the jury that Folbig’s diaries contained confessions.

Her ex-husband, Craig Folbig, said in the latest inquest submission that four children in a family would die of natural causes before the age of two, it continued to treat the diary entries as admissions of guilt by his ex-wife. There was a compelling basis for In a statement after the pardon, Mr Folbig’s lawyer Danny Eide said his client’s views had not changed.

Mr Eide said, “Mr Folbig’s attitude towards Ms Folbig’s crime has not changed at all.” “Ms. Folbig has not been acquitted of the crimes, and her convictions have not been commuted.”

Ms Callan said psychologists and psychiatrists gave evidence that would be “unreliable to interpret entries” in the prosecution’s way of trial. Ms Callan said Folbig was possibly suffering from a major depressive disorder and “maternal grief” when she made the entries.

Folbig’s best friend Tracy Chapman thanked supporters in the wake of the decision. Ms Chapman said: “I know the last 20 years have been terrible for Kathleen, not least for the pain and suffering she has endured after losing all four of her children.”

Mr. Daly described it as a sad affair. “We have four little [babies] who are dead We have a husband and wife who lost each other, a woman who spent 20 years in jail and a family who never got a chance,” he said. “You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t feel anything about it.”

Additional reporting by agencies