September 29, 2023

Brighton Journal

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Kathleen Folbig: Australian convicted of killing her 4 children pardoned after spending 20 years in prison

Kathleen Folbig: Australian convicted of killing her 4 children pardoned after spending 20 years in prison

Kathleen FolbigThe woman she became Dubbed “Australia’s worst serial killer”, he was pardoned Shows it after discovering new resources No Killed his four children.

Folbig He spent 20 years in prison A jury found her guilty of murdering her sons Caleb and Patrick and daughters Sarah and Laura between 1989 and 1999. However, a recent investigation considered what scientists had discovered. They may have died a natural death.

The case of this 55-year-old woman is described One of the great failures of Australian justice. Folbig has always maintained his innocence. In 2003 she was sentenced to 25 years in prison For the murder of her three children and the assassination of her first son, Caleb.

Each child died suddenly Between 1989 and 1999, aged between 19 days and 19 months, and Prosecutors allege he suffocated them at his trial.

“20 Years Trial”

Earlier appeals and a separate hearing in the 2019 case found there was insufficient evidence to question the conviction and placed too much weight on it. Circumstantial evidence Given at the original hearing.

But the new trial, headed by a retired judge Tom BathurstThe lawyers accepted it New discoveries about genetic mutations They changed the understanding of infant mortality.

Kathleen Folbig, pictured after a court hearing in 2004Fairfax Media/Getty Images

Attorney General of New South Wales, Michael DalyBathurst announced on Monday that he had come to a “firm opinion”. There were reasonable doubts about Folbig’s guilt. As a result, the Governor of New South Wales signed a pardon He was ordered to be released immediately.

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“It’s been a 20-year ordeal for her … I just want her to find peace,” Daly said, and his thoughts were with her. Craig FolbigFather of the children.

At the 2022 hearing, Folbig’s lawyers pointed to the “fundamental improbability” of a family of four children dying of natural causes before the age of two.

Unconditional forgiveness does not override Folbig’s beliefsDaly said. That will be a decision for the Court of Criminal Appeal, which could take up to a year if retired judge Bathurst decides to retry the case.

If their beliefs are revoked, Folbig could sue the government million dollar compensation. She could receive an amount similar to that of Lindy Chamberlain, who was awarded $1.3 million in 1992 after she was wrongfully convicted in the death of her daughter Azaria. Although some Folbigg defenders say his case doesn’t compare to Chamberlain’s, who spent three years in prison.

The damage to Kathleen Folbig is impossible to fathom… the pain of losing her children and being incarcerated in maximum security prisons for almost two decades for crimes that science never showed,” her attorney said. Rani Rego.

Folbigg was met at the prison gate by friends who had been campaigning for his release for years. Daly, the New South Wales attorney-general, appealed for Folbig’s privacy to be respected so he could “get on with his life.”

Laws “more sensitive to science”

The 2003 Folbigg trial focused primarily on Circumstantial evidence, especially in newspapers where she exposed her motherhood issues. however, No physical evidence was presented Suffocation or injury to children on investigation.

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At a recent inquest, experts suggested that Folbigg’s diaries were the device of a grieving mother with little support. It is impossible that all four children suffocated without a trace.

Folbig’s two children, Laura (left) and Patrick (right)EPA

But the key piece of evidence came from a team of immunologists who found Folbig’s daughters, Sarah and Laura share a genetic mutationCalled CALM2 G114R, this can occur Sudden cardiac death.

Evidence was also found that their children. Caleb and Patrick had a different genetic mutationrelated to fits Sudden onset in rats.

Teacher Corolla vinusawho led the research team at the Australian National University, said the unusual gene sequence readily visible in DNA Folbigg’s, before the children’s samples were tested.

Professor Carola Vinusa led the research on genetic modificationUN

According to this author, There are only 134 known cases worldwide of life-threatening heart disease associated with this genetic mutation. Vinusa described the decision to pardon Folbig as a “beautiful moment” that could give hope to other women in similar situations.

“We have had contact with women who have lost children or been accused of harm, and these cases also seem to be children with serious genetic conditions,” she said.

The Australian Academy of Sciences says the case shows that Reform is needed It makes the legal system more “science sensitive”.

Tom Houston, BBC News, Sydney

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