An Australian woman who spent 20 years in custody for killing her four children was pardoned and released on Monday. This decision comes after an investigation questioning his guilt.
Kathleen Folbigg was dubbed "Australia's worst female serial killer" after being convicted in 2003 of the murder of her three children and the manslaughter of the fourth. The case had been highly publicized.
According to the prosecutor's office, his children, aged 9 weeks to 3 years, had died suffocated by their mother, 55 years old today, who has always rejected these accusations by claiming that each of their deaths was related to a natural cause.
'Reasonable doubt' about cause of death
In 2021, dozens of Australian and overseas scientists signed a petition for Folbigg's release, arguing that new forensic evidence suggested the unexplained deaths were linked to rare genetic mutations or birth defects.
New South Wales State Attorney General Michael Daley announced Monday that Folbigg has been pardoned after a year-long inquest that established "reasonable doubt" about the cause of the deaths. She was released on Monday morning from Grafton prison, located about six hours' drive north of Sydney.
Kathleen Folbigg has received an unconditional pardon after reasonable doubt emerged for her role in the deaths of her four children between 1989 and 1999 l @alicemhogg pic.twitter.com/jjeCAFWyks
— 10 News First Sydney (@10NewsFirstSyd) June 5, 2023
"This is an important moment for justice in this state," said Sue Higginson, a Green Party member who championed her cause. "We have received confirmation that Ms. Folbigg was released this morning and ... that she is now out of prison. »
In the absence of strong forensic evidence, prosecutors had argued that it was extremely unlikely that four children could have died suddenly without explanation. But retired Judge Tom Bathurst, who led the inquiry, said subsequent investigations revealed medical causes that could explain three of those deaths.
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According to him, Sarah and Laura Folbigg were carriers of a rare genetic mutation and Patrick Folbigg certainly suffered from an "underlying neurological pathology". In view of these factors, the magistrate ruled Caleb Folbigg's death unsuspect. He added that he could not accept that "Mrs. Folbigg was anything other than a caring mother to her children." The Australian Academy of Science, which helped open the investigation, said it was relieved that justice had been served.