Australian mother officially pardoned after children’s death


An Australian mother who served 20 years in prison after being found guilty of the murders of her four children was officially acquitted on Thursday.

Kathleen Folbigg was jailed in 2003 after her four children died suddenly and without reason between 1989 and 1999.

Folbigg, once known as “Australia’s worst female serial killer”, fought tenaciously for more than two decades to prove her innocence, and was acquitted earlier this year after they were found to have died of natural causes.

“For almost a quarter of a century I have experienced disbelief and hostility. I have experienced abuse in all its forms,” Folbigg told reporters on Thursday after being acquitted by an Australian court.

“I am grateful that updated science and genetics gave me answers about how my children died,” Folbigg added tearfully.

Folbigg was found guilty of the murders of three of her children, Patrick, Sarah and Laura, as well as culpable homicide in connection with the death of her son Caleb. The children were between 19 days and 18 months old when they died.

At the time, the case against Folbigg relied heavily on her tortured diary entries, which prosecutors claimed showed admissions of guilt. She was found guilty of suffocating the children, despite a lack of forensic evidence.

However, scientific breakthroughs in recent years have revealed that the children had rare genetic mutations and birth defects that led to their deaths.

Folbigg was released from prison earlier this year after receiving an unconditional pardon from the governor of New South Wales. But she had to go through a separate legal process to officially overturn her convictions through the New South Wales Court of Criminal Appeal

Folbigg’s lawyer, Rhanee Rego, said the decision now opens the door to a “substantial” claim for compensation.