An Australian woman, Kathleen Folbigg, has been Pardoned After 20 Years in Prison Over Doubt That She Killed Her Children. Governor Margaret Beazley issued an unconditional pardon, and the findings of a second inquiry might lead to overturning her convictions.
Aged 55, Folbigg was released from a Grafton prison in New South Wales due to doubts and new evidence. New South Wales Attorney-General Michael Daley expressed reasonable doubt about Folbigg’s guilt in her children’s deaths.
A petition from 90 professionals, including scientists and medical practitioners, prompted the second inquiry into Folbigg’s case. Prosecutors also acknowledged the reasonable doubt about her guilt during the inquiry.
Doubts Raised Over Folbigg’s Convictions and the Genetic Variant
Previously serving a 30-year prison sentence set to expire in 2033, Folbigg would have been eligible for parole in 2028. The deaths of her four children occurred separately over a decade. The 2018 discovery of a rare CALM2 genetic variant in her daughters played a pivotal role in initiating the inquiry.
Expert evidence suggested that the genetic variant could have caused the sudden deaths of her daughters, and they identified myocarditis as a potential cause of her other child’s death. The scientific evidence cast doubt on the notion that Folbigg was responsible for the deaths and challenged the argument of the deaths being an improbable coincidence.
Folbigg was the only one present when the children died, and prosecutors had presented her diaries as containing admissions of guilt. However, psychologists and psychiatrists argued that interpreting the diary entries as admissions would be unreliable, considering Folbigg’s mental state at the time.
Major depressive disorder and maternal grief influenced Folbigg’s diary entries, reflecting her emotional state.