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Kathleen Folbigg (2019)

Photo: Joel Carrett / AP

In Australia, a woman convicted of killing her four children has been pardoned after 20 years in prison. As the Attorney General of the state of New South Wales announced on Monday, a year-long investigation revealed "reasonable doubts" about the case. In the interest of justice, Kathleen Folbigg should be released "as soon as possible."

Folbigg, now 55, was considered "Australia's worst serial killer." She was convicted in 2003 for the murder of three of her children and the manslaughter of a fourth child. The prosecutor's office accused her of suffocating the children between the ages of nine weeks and three years.

In the absence of clear forensic evidence, prosecutors had argued that it was extremely unlikely that four children would have died suddenly and without explanation. The mother, on the other hand, insisted that the deaths of each of her children were due to natural causes.

New forensic evidence

After signing a petition for Folbigg's release in 2021 based on new forensic evidence, the case was finally reopened. The material suggested that the children had died naturally due to rare genetic abnormalities. A similar conclusion was reached by the subsequent investigation into the reassessment of the case.

According to the judge, two of the children suffered from a rare genetic mutation. This can lead to cardiac arrhythmias and sudden death. A third child suffered from a "neurogenic underlying disease". As a result, the judge also considered it unlikely that Folbigg had killed her fourth child. She was nothing more than "a caring mother".