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Controversial serial killer pardoned after new evidence emerges

Controversial serial killer case takes a twist. Kathleen Folbigg pardoned after 20 years.



Controversial serial killer pardoned after new evidence emerges
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Wales: In a surprising development, Kathleen Folbigg, previously notorious as "Australia's worst female serial killer," has been granted a pardon after new evidence emerged, raising doubts about her alleged involvement in the deaths of her four infant children.

After spending two decades in prison, Folbigg's case took a dramatic turn when a recent inquiry presented scientific findings suggesting that her children may have died of natural causes, casting significant doubt on her guilt.

Considered one of Australia's most prominent miscarriages of justice, the case saw Folbigg receive a 25-year prison sentence in 2003 for the murders of three children and the manslaughter of her first son.

 Prosecutors argued that she smothered the children, who died suddenly between 1989 and 1999.

Previous appeals and a 2019 inquiry failed to establish reasonable doubt, relying on circumstantial evidence.

However, a recent inquiry led by retired judge Tom Bathurst introduced new research on gene mutations, shifting the understanding of children's deaths.

New South Wales Attorney General Michael Daley announced on Monday that Bathurst had concluded there was reasonable doubt regarding Folbigg's guilt.

As a result, the governor of New South Wales granted a full pardon, ordering her immediate release from prison.

Daley expressed hopes for Folbigg's peace after enduring a challenging 20-year ordeal, while also acknowledging the children's father, Craig Folbigg.

While the pardon does not invalidate Folbigg's convictions, the Court of Criminal Appeal will consider quashing them if the case is referred by Bathurst, a process that may take up to a year.

If her convictions are overturned, Folbigg may potentially seek compensation by suing the government, similar to the case of Lindy Chamberlain, who was wrongfully convicted in 1982.

Advocates draw parallels between Folbigg's case and Chamberlain's, emphasizing the severity of the injustice endured by Folbigg.

Her lawyer, Rhanee Rego, highlighted the immense pain experienced by Folbigg, who lost her children and spent nearly two decades in maximum-security prisons.

The case underscores the need for a more scientifically sensitive legal system, according to the Australian Academy of Science.

The recent inquiry's findings, revealing shared genetic mutations among Folbigg's children, provide hope for other women facing similar circumstances and advocate for reforms in the legal system.

Professor Carola Vinuesa, leading the research team from the Australian National University, described this discovery as a "beautiful moment."