A court officially overturned the convictions of a 56-year-old Australian woman whose four children had died while she was serving a 20-year prison sentence, according to her attorneys.
Declaring that the initial evidence used against Kathleen Folbigg was “not reliable,” the New South Wales (NSW) Supreme Court determined on Thursday, December 14, that she was wrongfully convicted.
Following the court’s overturning of her conviction, she is anticipated to pursue compensation from the NSW government.
The matter was taken up again earlier this year after a landmark inquiry by a retired judge found reasonable doubt over her guilt.
‘How can I kill my own children?’
On Thursday, she burst into tears outside the court as she thanked the “updated science and genetics” saying that it had given her “answers” as to how her children died.
She also criticised the “system” for wrongly blaming her for murdering her children.
“My children are here with me today and they will be close to my heart for the rest of my life,” she told reporters.
Before accusing a parent of harming their children, the system and society should stop and consider the situation.
But even in 1999, she claimed, “we had legal answers to prove my innocence, but they were disregarded and ignored.”
Folbigg was imprisoned by the court in 2003 on three counts of murder and one count of manslaughter following the untimely deaths of her four babies, Laura, Sarah, Patrick, and Caleb, who were all between the ages of eighteen days and eighteen months when they passed away.
Media declared her ‘Australia’s worst serial killer’
The initial diagnosis of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which is applied when a baby under a year old passes away for no apparent reason, was placed on the first three deaths.
Laura was Folbigg’s longest-living child, having died at the age of eighteen months. A forensic pathologist had declared her cause of death “undetermined,” so police launched an investigation.
As newspaper headlines proclaimed her to be “Australia’s worst serial killer,” she was charged and found guilty.
Using Folbigg’s diaries, the prosecutors at the time used circumstantial evidence to portray Folbigg as an unstable mother who was prone to rage. Interestingly, neither psychologists nor psychiatrists looked through the diaries.
She was given a 40-year prison term in 2003, but it was later reduced to 30 years after an appeal.