Kathleen Folbigg will be released from prison after the NSW Government decided to pardon her.
NSW Attorney-General Michael Daley said on Monday “there is reasonable doubt as to the guilt of Kathleen Folbigg” after an inquiry into the deaths.
Who is Kathleen Folbigg?
Kathleen Folbigg is an Australian woman who in 2003 was found guilty of killing her four children (three murder convictions and one manslaughter conviction). She was sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in prison, of which she has served 20 years.
Folbigg’s first child, Caleb, was born in 1989. He died when he was 19 days old. The cause of death was recorded as SIDS – sudden infant death syndrome (when a baby dies unexpectedly and there is no clear cause of death).
A year later, Folbigg and her partner had another baby, Patrick. He died at four months old, with the cause of death recorded as epileptic fits.
Folbigg went on to have two more children over the next six years, Sarah and Laura. In 1993, Sarah died aged ten months. Her cause of death was SIDS. In 1999, Laura died at 18 months. The cause was undetermined, but it was recorded she had a heart condition.
Kathleen Folbigg’s case
None of the deaths were recorded as foul play, but after Laura’s death, a police investigation was underway.
Folbiggs’ husband, Craig, had read one of her diaries and took it to the police. They showed Folbigg really struggling with motherhood – feeling frustrated and lonely.
On April 19, 2001 Folbigg was arrested and charged with four counts of murder.
She was eventually charged with the murder and manslaughter of her four children. She was sentenced to a minimum 25 years in prison.
Kathleen Folbigg inquiry
Last year, an inquiry was established due to new scientific evidence that suggested the children could have died from natural causes.
With the advancement of science, medical experts have been able to provide new genetic evidence as to what could have caused the children’s deaths.
Sarah and Laura were found to both have a mutation in what’s called the CALM2 gene – which controls how calcium is transported in and out of heart cells.
We now know that these mutations are one of the most recognised causes of sudden death in infancy and childhood.
And Scientists say they were able to determine that this mutation was, according to their research, the likely cause of Laura and Sarah’s death.
More recently scientists were able to make more sense of what happened to the Folbigg baby boys as well. They were found to have two different novel and rare variants of a gene called BSN or Bassoon.
The inquiry was led by former NSW Chief Justice Tom Bathurst. On Monday, Daley said he had recently received a phone call from Bathurst who told him he is “firmly of the view there is reasonable doubt as to Kathleen Folbigg’s guilt”.