By John Ensor • 05 June 2023 • 19:30
Scientific evidence wins pardon.
A woman known as ‘Australia’s worst serial killer’ was pardoned today, thanks to pioneering scientific research led by a Spanish professor.
After serving 20 years of an initial 40-year sentence for the deaths of her four children, Kathleen Folbigg, 55, was pardoned on Monday, June 5, writes 20minutos.
In 2003, Folbigg was convicted of three counts of murder and one of manslaughter after the sudden deaths of her children aged between 19 days and 18 months.
In 1989, Kathleen, and her husband Craig, had the first of their four children, a boy named Caleb, who was found dead at 19 days old. Two years later their second son, Patrick, died at eight months. In 1993, their daughter Sarah died at 10 months old. Finally, more than five years later, her second daughter, Laura, died at 18 months
The children had shown no signs of injuries or mistreatment, but prosecutors alleged that the mother had smothered the infants.
Kathleen has always protested her innocence but was convicted on circumstantial evidence after her now estranged husband handed her diaries over to police.
The case was re-examined and coordinated by a Spanish scientist, Carola García de Vinuesa, who gathered information from experts in genetics and cardiology. The investigation also included evidence from experts in psychology, and psychiatry, which were relevant to Folbigg’s diaries.
García de Vinuesa said: ‘At that time I was in Australia. . .When we saw the reports, there were already indications that the deaths had been natural.’
Thanks to the dogged persistence of team leader, Prof Carola Vinuesa, who suggested the verdict was ‘deeply unjust,’ Australian legal officials reopened the case.
Summing up Thomas Bathurst, who led the inquiry, concluded that there was a reasonable possibility that Patrick, Sarah and Laura had died of natural causes. And that Caleb, was believed to have been a victim of sudden infant syndrome.
Legal experts are expected to examine whether the convictions should be annulled, although a pardon means that Kathleen Folbig is now a free woman
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
When he's not writing for EWN he enjoys gigging in a acoustic duo, looking after their four dogs, four chickens, two cats, and cycling up mountains very slowly.
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