australia-crime-folbiggKathleen Folbigg, right, along with friend Tracy Chapman outside the New South Wales Court of Criminal Appeal in Sydney, Australia on Dec. 14, 2023. AAP IMAGE / DAN HIMBRECHTS VIA REUTERS

A court in Australia has overturned the convictions of Kathleen Folbigg, who was found guilty in 2003 of killing her four children

An Australian woman had all her convictions overturned by an appeals court on Thursday, two decades after a jury had originally found her guilty of killing her four children.

Kathleen Folbigg had already been pardoned by the New South Wales state government and released from prison in June.

The decision to pardon her was influenced by new scientific evidence suggesting that her children might have died from natural causes, as she had consistently maintained.

This pardon was expedited to secure her release before the New South Wales Court of Appeals could consider quashing her convictions, as recommended by an inquiry into the new evidence.

In the courtroom, applause resonated as Chief Justice Andrew Bell overturned three murder convictions and one manslaughter conviction. Kathleen Folbigg, now 56, wept in response to the verdict.

“While the verdicts during the trial were reasonably plausible based on the available evidence, there is now a reasonable doubt regarding Ms. Folbigg’s culpability,” stated Bell. He further expressed that it is appropriate for Ms. Folbigg’s convictions to be overturned.

After leaving the court, Folbigg expressed her gratitude to her supporters, legal team, and scientists for vindicating her. She acknowledged the challenges she faced over nearly a quarter of a century, enduring disbelief and hostility, and suffering various forms of abuse. Folbigg conveyed her long-standing hope and prayer to one day stand with her name cleared.

With tearful gratitude, she added, “I am thankful that advancements in science and genetics have provided me with answers regarding how my children died.”

However, she asserted that the evidence available during her trial, suggesting her children died of natural causes, was either overlooked or disregarded. Folbigg expressed frustration, stating, “The system chose to accuse me rather than acknowledge that sometimes children can and do pass away suddenly, unexpectedly, and heartbreakingly.”

Her former husband, Craig Folbigg, who instigated the police investigation with his suspicions, has advocated for a retrial. Craig Folbigg’s lawyer, Danny Eid, asserted that a retrial would be the fairest approach, allowing the presentation of all the so-called fresh evidence before a jury for a determination of her guilt.

Kathleen Folbigg’s attorney, Rhanee Rego, revealed that their legal team will now seek “substantial” compensation from the state government for the years she spent incarcerated. Notably, Folbigg had been publicly branded as Australia’s worst female serial killer.

The inquiry leading to the recommendation for Folbigg’s pardon and exoneration was initiated in response to a petition signed in 2021 by 90 scientists, medical practitioners, and professionals in related fields. They argued that compelling new evidence indicated the likelihood that the children died of natural causes.

Folbigg’s tragic history began with her first child, Caleb, born in 1989, who tragically passed away 19 days later, leading to a jury’s determination of the lesser crime of manslaughter. Subsequently, her second child, Patrick, died at the age of 8 months in 1991.

Two years later, in 1993, her third child, Sarah, passed away at the age of 10 months. The sequence of sorrow continued in 1999 when Folbigg’s fourth child, Laura, died at 19 months.

Prosecutors contended that Kathleen Folbigg had smothered her children, resulting in her conviction in 2003 and a subsequent 30-year prison sentence.

In 2018, crucial evidence emerged indicating that both of Folbigg’s daughters carried a rare CALM2 genetic variant that could have contributed to their sudden deaths.

Expert testimony suggested that Laura’s demise might have been linked to myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, while Patrick’s sudden death could potentially be attributed to an underlying neurogenetic disorder.

The introduction of these scientific explanations regarding the genetic factors and potential medical causes for the deaths of the three siblings cast doubt on the prosecutors’ narrative, challenging the assertion that the tragedies formed a pattern of behavior indicative of Caleb’s likely manslaughter.




Peter Ritdung Wakkias is a Nigerian blogger and programmer, known for being the CEO of and He holds a Higher National Diploma in Computer Science from Isa Mustapha Agwai 1 Polytechnic Lafia. Based in Lafia, Nasarawa State.

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