Australia’s worst female serial killer pardoned after new evidence.

Written by on June 5, 2023

A woman once branded “Australia’s worst female serial killer” has been pardoned after new evidence suggested she did not kill her four infant children.

55-year-old Kathleen Folbigg, who has always maintained her innocence, was jailed for 25 years in 2003 for the murders of three of the children, and the manslaughter of her first son, Caleb.

Each child died suddenly between 1989 and 1999, aged between 19 days and 19 months, with prosecutors at her trial alleging she had smothered them.

Previous appeals and a separate 2019 inquiry into the case found no grounds for reasonable doubt, and gave greater weight to circumstantial evidence in Folbigg’s original trial.

Folbigg had spent 20 years in prison after a jury found she killed her sons, Caleb and Patrick and daughters, Sarah and Laura.

But at the fresh inquiry, headed by retired judge Tom Bathurst, prosecutors accepted that research on gene mutations had changed their understanding of the children’s deaths.

New South Wales (NSW) Attorney General Michael Daley on Monday signed a full pardon, and ordered Folbigg’s immediate release from prison not quash Folbigg’s convictions.

Daley said that would be a decision for the Court of Criminal Appeal.

If her convictions are overturned, Folbigg could sue the government for millions of dollars in compensation.

Alternatively, she could receive a settlement similar to that of Lindy Chamberlain, who was awarded $1.3m (£690,000, $US858,000) in 1992 for her wrongful conviction over the death of her daughter Azaria.

The case has been described as one of Australia’s greatest miscarriages of justice.

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