- Australia The scientist who saves the great 'evil' of Australia: "She was just a mother who had a hard time because her children were dying"
The Australian Justice has pardoned the conviction of a woman who had been in prison for 20 years for the death of her four children, as reported Monday by the country's authorities. This is Kathleen Folbigg, known as "Australia's worst serial killer" after being convicted in 2003 on charges of murder of three of her children and manslaughter of the fourth. Two decades ago, prosecutors determined that the woman had suffocated the children, who ranged in age from nine weeks to three years old, but Folbigg claimed they had died of natural causes.
Now, the attorney general of the state of New South Wales, Michael Daley, has made this decision after reporting that an investigation initiated in May 2022 establishes a "reasonable doubt" around the convictions, so Folbigg has been pardoned. "In the interests of justice, Kathleen Folbigg must be released from custody as soon as possible," Daley said.
In 2021, dozens of scientists from Australia and overseas signed a petition calling for Folbigg's release, noting that new forensic evidence suggests the unexplained deaths are linked to rare genetic mutations or congenital abnormalities.
In the absence of firm forensic evidence, prosecutors argued that it was very rare for four children to die suddenly without explanation. But Judge Tom Bathurst, who led the new inquiry, said medical conditions were found that could account for three of the deaths. Two girls have a rare genetic mutation while one boy would have had an "underlying neurogenic condition." Given these factors, Bathurst determined that the death of the fourth child was also unsuspecting.
The Spanish immunologist Carola García Vinuesa participated in the research, who together with a university student who raised the case, drew up a list with all the genetic mutations that could have caused the death of Folbigg's children. After collecting a saliva sample from Folbigg, they discovered that he had a mutation in the CALM2 gene, which can cause sudden death in children and significant arrhythmias. She then asked for access to the babies' blood samples and tissues obtained from autopsies and discovered that two of the children had a mutation of the same gene.
According to the criteria of The Trust Project