Kathleen Folbigg Mother Pardoned After 20 Years For Killing Her Four Babies
In a surprising turn of events, a woman condemned as Australia's worst female serial killer, Kathleen Folbigg mother pardoned after 20 yearsfor the deaths of her four children.
New South Wales Attorney General Michael Daley made the decision based on the preliminary findings of an inquiry that found "reasonable doubt" as to Folbigg's guilt for all four deaths. This development marks a significant miscarriage of justice in one of the country's most notorious cases.
Announcing the decision at a newsconference, Daley expressed his hope that the pardon would bring closure to this two-decade-old matter. He acknowledged the difficulty of the situation for Craig Folbigg, the babies' father, whom he had informed of the decision.
Kathleen Folbigg's release from the Clarence Correctional Center was scheduled for the same day.
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Kathleen Folbigg was convicted in 2003 on three counts of murder and one count of manslaughter following the deaths of her four children between 1989 and 1999. Despite a lack of physical evidence linking her to the deaths, the prosecution argued that the chances of four babies from one family dying from natural causes were incredibly low. The contents of Folbigg's diary, initially seen as confessions of guilt, further contributed to the jury's decision.
However, a new inquiry initiated last year revealed new scientific evidence that provided a genetic explanation for the children's deaths. Sophie Callan, the lead counsel assisting the inquiry, stated that there was reasonable doubt as to Folbigg's guilt based on the body of evidence.
The NSW director of public prosecutions also indicated openness to the possibility of reasonable doubt. These revelations prompted a reconsideration of Folbigg's case and eventually led to her pardon.
The tragic timeline of events began when Folbigg married Craig Folbigg at the age of 20. Their first child, Caleb, lived only 19 days. Patrick, their second child, passed away at eight months old, followed by Sarah at 10 months old. The couple's fourth child, Laura, lived the longest, dying at 18 months.
The police investigation into the deaths commenced upon Laura's passing, and Folbigg was arrested and charged more than two years later.
During the trial, the prosecution relied on the theory of "coincidence and tendency" to suggest that Folbigg was responsible for the deaths of all her children, including Caleb. However, the recent inquiry cast doubt on her involvement in Caleb's death, and the case against her for his murder was deemed unfounded. Furthermore, retired judge Tom Bathurst, who reviewed the evidence, concluded that Folbigg was a caring mother, contrary to her initial conviction.
While the pardon grants Folbigg her freedom, it does not overturn her convictions. The Court of Criminal Appeal will be responsible for quashing her convictions, a process that may take time. The possibility of compensation for Folbigg remains uncertain and would require her to pursue civil proceedings against the New South Wales government.
Daley acknowledged that the public may have strong opinions on the case, given the two decades of believing in Folbigg's guilt. However, he called for compassion, emphasizing the tragic loss of four young lives and the devastating impact on both Folbigg and her family.
New South Wales Attorney General Michael Daley:
The road to clearing her name has just begun, drawing parallels to the case of Lindy Chamberlain, who was wrongfully convicted before evidence emerged supporting her innocence.
As Kathleen Folbigg steps back into society after her long incarceration, the hope for justice and the truth behind the deaths of her four children remains an ongoing pursuit.