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Woman convicted of killing her four babies released from jail after 20 years

Woman convicted of killing her four babies released from jail after 20 years

Kathleen Folbigg has been pardoned after two decades behind bars

Content warning: this article contains subject matter that some readers may find upsetting

A woman convicted of killing her four babies has been released from jail after 20 years.

Kathleen Folbigg, from Australia, was found guilty of smothering her four babies - Caleb, Patrick, Sarah and Laura - before their second birthday back in 2003.

The mum has been pardoned today (5 June) after two whole decades behind bars.

Now 55-years-old, Folbigg was found guilty of smothering the four infants after claiming she found them, one after the other, lifeless in their cribs.

The four children died separately between the years of 1989 and 1999 aged in the range from aged between 19 days to 19 months old.

The woman has been pardoned from prison after 20 years.
Australian Associated Press / Alamy Stock Photo

Folbigg was initially sentenced to 40 years in prison for murder and manslaughter with a non-parole period of 30 years, but that sentence was later reduced to 25 years following an appeal.

In a news conference today, New South Wales Attorney General Michael Daley revealed that Folbigg had been granted an 'unconditional pardon'.

Daley went on to disclose that the woman would be released from prison 'without delay' due to preliminary findings of a review into her conviction.

The review in question - conducted by the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Thomas Bathurst, - reportedly found 'reasonable doubt' surrounding her guilt for all four of her children's deaths.

He said: "There is a reasonable doubt as to Ms. Folbigg's guilt of the manslaughter of her child Caleb, the infliction of grievous bodily harm on her child Patrick and the murder of her children Patrick, Sarah and Laura."

"I have reached a view that there is reasonable doubt as to the guilt of Ms. Folbigg of those offenses," Daley added.

According to ABC News, Folbigg was pardoned based on new scientific evidence that claimed her four infants died from natural causes.

"This has been a terrible ordeal for everyone concerned and I hope that our actions today can put some closure on this 20-year-old matter," said Daley.

The Attorney General went on to state that the children's father, Craig Folbigg, had also been informed about the pardoning.

He said: "I am thinking of him today as well. It will be a tough day for him."

Folbigg was pardoned based on new evidence claiming all four infants' death were due to natural causes.
Australian Associated Press / Alamy Stock Photo

Daley went on to confirm that the facility in which Folbigg was serving her prison sentence, Clarence Correctional Centre, had been instructed to 'look after her' following her release.

"I think we all have to put ourselves in Ms. Folbigg’s shoes and let her now have the space that she needs to get on with her life and not to harass her or pursue her in any way," he went on to note. “

"This has been a 20-year long ordeal for her and if she’s not out already she will be soon and wish her well for the rest of her life."

During the press conference, Daley also confirmed that Folbigg's convictions had not been revoked: "The only body that can do that is the Court of Criminal Appeal. The effect of a pardon is that she will not have to serve the rest of her sentence."

Back in 2021, a group of nearly 100 scientists started a petition to pardon Folbigg from what they dubbed a 'a miscarriage of justice'.

The 90 scientists argued there was 'no medical evidence' to support the prosecution's case that the mum had in fact smothered each of the four children to death.

Instead, they claimed the babies may have died of genetic causes.

In the petition, the group also argued that Folbigg's conviction was partly based on the discredited theory known as 'Meadow's Law' which, in short, assumes the probability of more than two children from one single family dying of genetic causes is so statistically unlikely that there must be foul play involved.

Featured Image Credit: Australian Associated Press / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Crime, News, Parenting, Australia