Australia’s worst female serial killer Kathleen Folbigg has launched another bid for freedom, arguing a former judge who reviewed her case did not ‘come to grips’ with evidence that she claims proves her innocence.
Folbigg was jailed in 2003 for at least 25 years for murdering her children Patrick, Sarah and Laura – aged from eight months to 19 months – between 1991 and 1999.
She was also found guilty of the manslaughter of her first-born child, Caleb, who was just 19 days old when he died in Newcastle in 1989.
The 53-year-old has always maintained her innocence.
Last month a group of 27 scientists released findings which show at least two of her children may have died of natural causes.
Kathleen Folbigg has made a bid for freedom, arguing a former judge who reviewed her case did not ‘come to grips’ with the latest scientific evidence that she claims proves her innocence
Folbigg was jailed in 2003 for at least 25 years for murdering her children Patrick, Sarah (right) and Laura (left) – aged from eight months to 19 months – between 1991 and 1999
She was also found guilty of the manslaughter of her first child, Caleb (left), who was 19 days old when he died in Newcastle in 1989. Patrick Folbigg pictured right
Folbigg has since launched legal proceedings against the inquiry’s chief, former NSW District Court Judge Reginald Oliver Blanch QC AM.
The 53-year-old alleges he acted with ‘apprehended bias’ against her, while making mistakes in his findings.
The NSW Supreme Court on Tuesday heard Folbigg would argue Mr Blanch failed to properly accept the information collected by medical experts since she was sentenced, The Daily Telegraph reported.
‘I apprehend that underlying (Folbigg’s) stated grounds there is a proposition the judicial officer did not, in some way, come to grips with new medical – immunological and genetic – evidence post trial,’ Justice John Basten said.
Folbigg’s lawyers are preparing to prove a ‘significant shift in the scientific material’ took place, and are aiming to have Mr Blanche’s report be declared legally flawed’.
The Attorney-General denied the accusations against Mr Blanch.
The matter was adjourned until February 2021.
In a peer-reviewed study published on in August, researchers in Australia, Canada, the United States, France, Italy and Denmark said a never-seen-before genetic mutation in the two girls’ DNA had likely been deadly.
The Danish scientists said the mutation, called CALM2 G114R, had been inherited from Folbigg.
They said Caleb and Patrick had another genetic mutation which too could have led to their deaths.
The CALM2 mutation causes a condition called ‘Calmodulinopathy’ which can cause sudden cardiac death in very young children, the paper’s lead scientist said.
Folbigg leaving the Supreme Court of NSW in April 2003. Scientists have said a never-seen-before genetic mutation found in her two girls’ DNA had likely been deadly
They said the boys’ mutated genes had two different copies which caused lethal epilepsy in mice in cases where they were faulty.
Professor of Immunology at the Australian National University Carola Vinuesa – who revealed the results to a scientists’ symposium – was last year tasked with analysing the DNA of Folbigg and the four deceased children.
Scientists had analysed the infants’ genome using only the blood from their heel-prick cards at birth.
The report by Mr Blanch said ‘the only conclusion reasonably open is that somebody intentionally caused harm to the children, and smothering was the obvious method’.
‘The evidence pointed to no person other than Ms Folbigg,’ the report said.
Tracy Chapman (pictured) has been friends with convicted child killer Kathleen Folbigg since the pair were six and she has maintained her best friend’s innocence since she was sent to jail after her 2003 Sydney trial
Folbigg’s evidence and listening device transcripts – which weren’t before the jury at trial – showed she had been untruthful, unbelievable and ‘made deliberate attempts to obscure the fact that she had committed the offences’, it said.
The inquiry was announced by NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman in 2018 after Folbigg’s lawyers lodged a petition casting doubt on some evidence that led to her conviction.
At the time, the attorney-general said he’d formed the view it was necessary ‘to ensure public confidence in the administration of justice’.
The results of the inquiry left Folbigg ‘heartbroken and perplexed’, friend Tracey Chapman told 7 News.
She said despite the findings, they would continue to fight to prove her innocence.
‘I can assure you, it’s not over. Not until this gross injustice is recognised, the convictions overturned and this broken, arrogant, biased system apologises for its treatment of Kath.
‘We have truth on our side and a growing number of supporters who are becoming very frustrated. I told her to try and find some comfort in these facts.’