Pardon granted to Australian mum after 20 years for infant deaths

After spending 20 years in prison, Kathleen Folbigg, once labelled “Australia’s worst female serial killer,” has been pardoned following new evidence suggesting she did not kill her four infant children. In 2003, Folbigg was jailed for 25 years for the murders of three of her children and the manslaughter of her first son. The children died suddenly between 1989 and 1999, aged between 19 days and 19 months, and prosecutors initially alleged she had smothered them.

However, a recent inquiry led by retired judge Tom Bathurst revealed that research on gene mutations had changed the understanding of the children’s deaths. As a result, the New South Wales governor signed a full pardon and ordered Folbigg’s immediate release from prison. The unconditional pardon does not quash her convictions, and the decision to do so would be made by the Court of Criminal Appeal, potentially taking up to a year.

During the latest inquiry, a team of immunologists discovered that Folbigg’s daughters shared a genetic mutation called CALM2 G114R, which can cause sudden cardiac death. Her sons were found to possess a different genetic mutation linked to sudden-onset epilepsy in mice. Prof Carola Vinuesa, who led the research team from the Australian National University, described the decision to pardon Folbigg as a “beautiful moment” that could offer hope to other women in similar situations.

The Australian Academy of Science has stated that the case highlights the need for reform to make the legal system more “science sensitive,” a call echoed by Folbigg’s lawyer.

World News

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Lilly Larkin

Lilly is a writer with a diverse international background, having lived in various countries including Thailand. Her unique experiences provide valuable insights and culturally sensitive perspectives in her news reporting. When not writing, Lilly enjoys exploring local art scenes, volunteering for community projects, and connecting with people from different cultures.