Kathleen Folbigg was a loving mother of four children; Caleb, Patrick, Sarah and Laura. On May 23, 2003, she was found guilty by jury of the murder of Patrick, Sarah and Laura, and guilty of the manslaughter of Caleb, in the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

There was no physical evidence the children were murdered. The prosecution relied on circumstantial evidence to present their case. Kathleen has spent the last 15 years in prison and continues to maintain her innocence.

In June 2015, three Newcastle-based Barristers submitted a Petition to the Governor outlining grounds upon which Kathleen’s convictions should be reviewed. This Petition contains fresh and compelling evidence consistent with Kathleen’s innocence, including a report from one of Australia’s leading forensic pathologists who concluded that there is no basis in forensic pathology that any of the children were smothered.

Three years later, Kathleen and her supporters are still waiting for the Governor to respond to the Petition.

Lawyers acting for Kath have issued a summons calling for a further judicial review of her case.

The summons states that Justice Blanch “failed to apply the correct legal test of ‘reasonable doubt’ to the evidence before the inquiry”.

Those summonsed by Folbigg’s legal team include Justice Blanch, Craig Folbigg, the office of the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions, the Crown Solicitor’s office, and Gail Furness SC, who acted as counsel assisting Justice Blanch in the inquiry.

At a brief directions hearing Thursday morning, the matter was adjourned for two weeks.

You can read more about the hearing in an article by ABC journalist Quentin McDermott by clicking here.

 

 

It was announced earlier this week that NSW Governor Margaret Beazley has accepted the findings of the Kathleen Folbigg inquiry.

The convictions for the deaths of her four children will stand.

The Justice For Kathleen Folbigg team had hoped the Governor would closely examine the expert submissions into the case and see that there was reason to question a guilty verdict.

When the Justice team saw Kathy a few weeks ago she was praying that Margaret Beazley would not simply rubber stamp the judge’s findings.

But it wasn’t to be.

Anyone who has read the reports submitted to the inquiry by genetic experts, psychiatrists and pathologists would know they all suggest reasonable doubt.

Reasonable doubt is a standard of proof used in criminal trials. When a criminal defendant is prosecuted, the prosecutor must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the judge has a reasonable doubt as to the defendant’s guilt, they should pronounce the defendant not guilty.

However, the strong medical evidence was pushed aside in favour of weaponising – yet again – Kath’s journals, despite experts suggesting her words were consistent with someone suffering survivor guilt.

Reading psychiatrist Michael Diamond’s recent assessment of Kath, as she opened up about the trauma she felt as she lost one child after another, is heartbreaking.

She told him she felt constant terror following the birth of each of her children, petrified that she would lose them. She wept uncontrollably as she told him about each of their deaths.

We are disappointed that Kath’s ex-husband Craig’s refused to provide DNA for genetic testing and that his refusal was swept under the carpet.

If the government was truly interested in making the correct judgement it would have insisted on the DNA being provided. Craig – if he has nothing to hide – should have no reason to refuse such a test.

The team vows that this is not over. Kath is innocent and we will keep on fighting until we are heard.

 

Justice For Kathleen Folbigg is shocked by the Attorney General’s announcement last night regarding Kathleen’s inquiry.

As are many experts who contributed their opinions to the inquiry.

World-leading genetic expert Professor Peter Schwartz is concerned that the judicial system has made a mistake in its conviction of Kathleen Folbigg.

Professor Schwartz revised his original opinion about the case after closely examining new genetic evidence.

However, the Attorney General has chosen to ignore science.

Mark Speakman announced last night, after normal working hours, that the convictions should stand.

Justice For Kathleen Folbigg is perplexed, dismayed and very concerned that despite the large body of evidence presented at the inquiry that reinforced there is no physical evidence that Kathleen killed her children and far more evidence to show other more plausible explanations, His Honour Reginald Blanch and Counsel Assisting continued with the recommendation that Kathleen’s conviction should stand.

We 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 Kathleen.

Justice For Kathleen Folbigg has many concerns regarding the handling of the inquiry.

These concerns began when the submission dates came and went. They continued as the court dates unfolded. We intend to make a formal complaint regarding some of them as they are so despicable. They can then be added to the record of gross injustices in this case.

It’s certainly not over. The legal team has assured us they are in this for the long haul. We are in this for the long haul.

While we are disappointed and angered by Speakman’s recommendation, that doesn’t mean we will give up and stop calling the system out for the mistakes it’s made.

We have truth on our side. It might take time to uncover it, but it will happen, we can assure you of that. We will pursue all avenues afforded to us to bring this truth to light.

Kathleen Folbigg is innocent, the system got it wrong. We will have justice for Kathleen Folbigg.

Supporters of Kathleen Folbigg are devastated that Chief Judge of the NSW District Court Reginald Blanch, who conducted the inquiry into her convictions, has concluded he does not have “any reasonable doubt” as to her guilt.

In a 500-page report released tonight, Judge Blanch rejected the evidence presented at the inquiry, which included a world-leading genetic researcher Professor Peter Schwartz calling for a re-evaluation of Kathy’s convictions, based on a genetic variant he said “justifies fully re-opening the case”.

Professor Schwartz wrote a letter to the inquiry following an approach by Professor Carola Vinuesa, who gave evidence to the inquiry in April.

Professors Schwartz and Vinuesa said: “We think it is likely that the two female Folbigg children died as a result of the CALM2 G114R variant, while the two male children died from different causes that could also be genetic.”

The letter, made public this week, said the identification of a genetic variant known as “CALM2 G114R” in Folbigg and two of her children raised “significant doubts” over her conviction.

The CALM2 variant is a gene associated with life-threatening cardiac episodes during infancy and early childhood.

“My conclusion is that the accusation of infanticide might have been premature and not correct,” Professor Schwartz wrote.

However, in a statement, NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman said he had spoken to Craig Folbigg — the convicted killer’s ex-husband — regarding the report.

“I acknowledge that the decision to commence an inquiry has further aggravated what already was an unimaginable tragedy,” he said.

“I am sorry for the toll that the inquiry has taken on Mr Folbigg and family members over the last year.

“I hope that the conclusion of the inquiry, and the report’s findings, might provide comfort in some way to the relatives of Caleb, Patrick, Sarah and Laura, and will dispel community concern regarding Folbigg’s convictions.”

No, Mr Speakman, it has not dispelled our concern. We are deeply shocked that Judge Blanch is so set on refusing to see reasonable doubt where it so obviously exists.

Speakman concluded his statement by saying: “Ms Folbigg will continue to serve her sentence of 30 years imprisonment. She will be first eligible to apply for parole in 2028 at the conclusion of her 25 year non-parole period.”

Our hearts go out to Kath at this heartbreaking time.

But as supporter Tracy Chapman notes: “We will not give up. We cannot. truth and justice is important for us all.”

 

A leading genetic researcher has written a letter to the Kathleen Folbigg inquiry, calling for a re-evaluation of her convictions.

ABC journalist Quentin McDermott has revealed the contents of Professor Peter Schwartz’s letter, which notes that the discovery of a genetic variant “justifies fully re-opening the case”.

Professor Schwartz is a world authority on the genetic causes of Long QT syndrome — a heart rhythm condition that can cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

He believes the identification of a genetic variant known as “CALM2 G114R” in both Kath and two of her children raises “significant doubts” over her conviction.

The CALM2 variant is a gene associated with life-threatening cardiac episodes during infancy and early childhood.

Professor Carola Vinuesa, one of Australia’s foremost researchers in genetics, also determined the genetic variant was “likely” to have caused the deaths of Kath’s daughters Laura and Sarah.

Professors Schwartz and Vinuesa said: “We think it is likely that the two female Folbigg children died as a result of the CALM2 G114R variant, while the two male children died from different causes that could also be genetic.”

Schwartz notes: “My conclusion is that the accusation of infanticide might have been premature and not correct.”

Click here to read McDermott’s full article. 

 

 

 

Canadian legal academic Emma Cunliffe has written an article for The Guardian about Kathleen Folbigg asking “She killed her four children – but what if we got it wrong?”

Cunliffe (pictured above in an interview for ABC News) wrote a book earlier this decade called ‘Murder, Medicine & Motherhood’ about Kathy’s conviction. She spent six years researching the case and concluded Kathy shouldn’t have been found guilty based on the evidence presented in court.

As early as 2012, Cunliffe wrote to the attorney general requesting an inquiry into her convictions, but her pleas fell on deaf ears. Why would the attorney general make such a monumental decision without intense public pressure?

Finally, in March this year, Cunliffe got her inquiry, after incredible perseverance on the part of Kathy’s supporters, friends and legal team.

It should have been a chance for the NSW government to ensure that justice had truly been served, but instead it became a witch hunt.

As Cunliffe notes, during Kathy’s time on the stand at the inquiry, she was “challenged 70 times to admit that she had smothered her four children”.

“When the questioning permitted, Folbigg explained that she blamed herself for her children’s deaths because she believed it was a mother’s responsibility to protect her children from every harm,” Cunliffe noted. “She described how her grief and depression compounded over the course of a decade of loss. Her diaries provided an outlet to which she confided her fears and in which she tried to find hope for a happier future. ”

However, her testimony was reduced by the media to “smirks” and a belief that supernatural forces had taken her children.

Cunliffe adds: “The press reports have largely ignored medical evidence heard by the inquiry that now establishes the likelihood of natural causes of death for each of Folbigg’s children: bacterial infection, epilepsy, a physical malfunction of the upper airways, myocarditis. In two of the children, sudden infant death syndrome would be an appropriate diagnosis. The doctors are unanimous that there is no physical evidence that any child was ever deliberately harmed, let alone smothered.”

In a tweet during the inquiry, Cunliffe wrote: “Kathleen Folbigg testified today at the Inquiry into her convictions. This Inquiry’s procedure has been unusual to the point of raising concerns – both about procedural fairness and about how well the truth seeking purpose of the Inquiry is being served.”

Click here to read her article. 

Tracy Chapman has discussed her unwavering belief in Kathy’s innocence during a Channel 7 Sunrise segment this week.

When asked if she has ever doubted Kathy, her childhood friend replied “never”.

She added: “Having known her for all my life, I’ve never wavered in how I feel for her, never wavered in my thoughts of innocence because that person is not capable of doing that.”

Watch the segement below:

Tracy has since noted to Justice for Kathleen Folbigg that Kathy didn’t regard her writing as a “diary”. It’s significant that she wrote the word “journal” on the cover, as therapists had advised her to use “journaling” as a process to getting rid of negative thoughts as she processed her grief.

journal

“I refuse to use the word diaries any longer,” Tracy said. “Diaries imply a totally different use or purpose. Kath had been journaling for many, many years to help herself live well by dumping all sorts of thoughts, ideas, concerns, fears, elations – as per the intended function and use of journaling. They really do have therapeutic and wellness usefulness.

“Kath used her journals according to their technical use or purpose. At no time was anything sinister, overtly stated or implied, and this is an incredibly important fact.”

ABC News has published an article on a consultant psychologist’s report that was submitted to the inquiry that found there is no evidence Kathy has a psychotic illness, severe mood disorder or any other brain injury consistent with homicidal conduct.

In his report, Dr Michael Diamond said he asked Kathy about the diaries and records that “she made no effort to hide her diaries because she simply viewed them as part of her life and not as something dangerous or secret”.

“I asked her specifically if she left her diaries out in order for her husband to find what she had written.

“She said it was not intended for her diaries to be read by others. Writing her diaries ‘was simply a way of getting things out’.”

Kathy has sometimes been painted as an angry woman whose children were fearful of her rage. But her friends say she was no different to any mum battling with sleep deprivation and the daily demands of motherhood.

On January 28, 1998, she wrote of Laura in a journal entry: “I’ve done it. I lost it with her. I yelled at her so angrily that it scared her, she hasn’t stopped crying. Got so bad I nearly dropped her on the floor & left her … I feel like the worst mother on this earth. Scared that she’ll leave me know [sic]. Like Sarah did.”

However, another lifelong friend Megan Donegan has noted that every mum loses their temper occasionally when they are tired and dealing with a truculent toddler.

“Imagine this … your one year old throws their food across the room… your first frustrated thought or reaction is to throw your hands, go RAAA. The baby screams because it actually wants that food, you have had bugger all sleep, you take the baby out of the high chair and put it on the floor, walk into your room for five minutes just to chill before you go back and deal with the baby.

“You write in your diary that night that you lost it … because to you that’s what ‘losing it’ is … frustrations with kids’ tantrums … but … you have had three babies die … you don’t know why and and you grasp at anything – you think its your fault, that you’re being punished for not being all susie-homemaker and able to take that.

“Someone reads your diary and says that means you must have killed your kids. You sit in the witness box being asked to explain why you were frustrated or made feel that everyone else didn’t ever feel like that.”

One of Kathy’s relatives has also spoken out following the Sunrise segment, saying: “I stayed over at Aunty Kath’s place many times. Of course I was only a small child back then, but the one thing I remember most about her is how caring , joyful and loving she always was. I will always back her. Love you, Kathy.”

These words from those who love Kathy are starkly at odds with the picture painted in the media of a “monster”.

Tracy also noted that there have been many “gobsmacking” revelations about the conduct of professionals who involved in Kathy’s case that have come to light during the inquiry.

Those revelations weren’t covered by the media, which only reported on the first day of the inquiry and then returned when Kathy was on the stand, in search of sensational headlines from her testimony.

“I think once it’s fully analysed there’ll be a lot more said about it,” Tracy concluded.

 

 

One of Kathleen Folbigg’s closest friends has explained why she tearfully hugged Craig Folbigg outside NSW Coroners Court in Sydney this week.

The moment came after Kathy spent three days on the stand explaining her diaries, while Craig sat in the public gallery.

Tracy Chapman said: “Craig looked me in the eye, sad and broken. So I hugged him. I told him that in 16 years Kathy has not said a bad word about him.

“We just want the pain and hurt to stop. She just wants peace because everyone has suffered enough.”

She says they both broke down in tears at that moment, with Craig putting his forehead against hers as they sobbed.

Tracy hadn’t considered the effect the moment would have on the media mob outside the court.

“It wasn’t planned that way at all,” she said. “I could just see his pain and wanted to acknowledge that.”

She is disappointed that some media have reported it as something bizarre or her being manipulative or even that she was turning on Kathy after hearing her testimony.

“I think it says a lot about the world,” she said. “We are openly encouraging hostility, negative emotions based on me turning on her. Why was it not just seen as the purely raw, honest, empathetic gesture of caring/feeling? Kathy isn’t the only one grieving the loss of her four children, so is Craig. And it’s been harrowing for everyone to relive the trauma over the course of the inquiry.”

Craig held his brother John back when he lashed out at Tracy.

John later told the media: “We kept our thoughts regarding her actions, her supporters vitriolic outbursts, our pain our grief at not only the loss of four beautiful babies but of the loss of this part of our family group to ourselves.”

Kathy’s supporters have insisted they made no vitriolic outbursts during the inquiry.

Comments have been made on the Justice for Kathleen Folbigg Facebook page that Kathy must be feeling betrayed by Tracy.

“I think she would be thinking not a good friend but a traitor,” one wrote.

However, Tracy said she has discussed her gesture with Kathy and she is fully supportive of her actions.

 

 

 

Kathleen Folbigg has spent her final, devastating day on the stand at the inquiry into her convictions.

Under examination from her barrister, Jeremy Morris SC, Kathy said: “The problem that landed me in the position that I am in is assumptions being made and things been made out of context and nobody understanding what I was trying to say when I was writing in those diaries.”

She also sought to clarify some misinterpretations made regarding her testimony over the last few days.

She said that while she still wonders if some supernatural power took all four of her children, she was not suggesting “some ghost or entity” did so.

“I have no answers as to why I have survived my children … I was constantly trying to search for that answer,” she said.

“I’m certainly not saying some ghost or entity or whatever came down and took my children.”

A June 1997 entry in Kathy’s diary reads: “Don’t think I’ll suffer Alzheimer’s Disease, my brain has too much happening, unstored and unrecalled memories just waiting, heaven help the day they surface and I recall, that will be the day to lock me up and throw away the key, something I’m sure will happen one day”.

Kathy explained in court: “I was reflecting and wondering whether I could end up in a mental institution if I was to recall all of the memories that I’d ever had in my life”.

She also revealed the terrible toll losing her four children took on her.

She said she believed she had only two options after the death of her third baby – to leave her husband or die.

She told the court that she would write letters to her husband Craig rather than talk to him. She read out one letter in which she talks about her feelings after the death of their baby daughter Sarah.

“The more I think about what our lives will be like, just you and me, the more I’m scared, I don’t think that I could handle it,” she wrote.

“I clearly remember how close I got to leaving you before Sarah was born, I thought that having her would solve the problems, I was wrong, that was a mistake.

“She (Sarah) was by no means a mistake.

“I love her more than anything and wouldn’t have my life go in any other direction … but she is gone and I am now faced with all the feelings and thoughts I had before but worse.

“Having her solve the problem of fulfilling your life and making you happy with life again but now because of cruel fate all that’s happened is turned your life into misery once more, how much misery and tragic deals of life is a couple supposed to bare?

“I suppose this last one has broken me, I don’t know about you.

“The bottom line is I don’t want this life any more, I want to have a major change.

She went on to write that she felt like her life had “expired”.

“The only two options I have left are – try life on my own or die, my survival instinct is too high for option two,” she wrote.

Morris also pointed to a number of diary entries where Kathy had written about plans for her children’s future and schooling.

He then asked her if she loved each of her children.

“Yes,” she replied.

He added: “Did you love Sarah?”

“Absolutely, yes,” she replied.

He asked: “Did you feel grief at her death?”

“Of course, I still feel it now,” she answered.

She also expressed her love for her other three children.

helen

After leaving court, Kathy’s longtime friends Helen Cummings and Tracy Chapman gave each other a supportive hug after days of high emotion.

Helen said: “I hope no mother in the world who has lost her babies through unexplained circumstances EVER has to go through what this mother has during these past few days.”

John Folbigg, the eldest brother of Kathy’s ex-husband Craig, spoke to the media outside the court.

“The chapter unfolding now we feel was unnecessary and most definitely unwelcome,” he said.

“However we have endured it, and as ultimately it would, we feel, help to ensure that the justice that Caleb, Patrick, Sarah and Laura received in 2003 is upheld.”

After receiving final submissions, Judge Reginald Blanch will prepare a report for the Governor.

It was another harrowing day in court for Kathy as she gave evidence regarding her diaries at the judicial inquiry into her convictions.

Dr Emma Cunliffe, who is a legal expert on Kathy’s case, tweeted during the hearing: “Kathleen Folbigg is today facing extremely lengthy, hostile cross-examination from Margaret Cunneen SC for Craig Folbigg (ongoing). She is remarkably calm, reflective and articulate about the disturbed thought patterns that attended her depression and bereavement.”

Kathy denied suggestions put to her by barrister Margaret Cunneen SC that “homicidal rages” or “psychological mood swings” led her to smother her babies.

She said she falsely believed her moods affected her children who “decided they didn’t want to be with me anymore”.

Cunneen said: “Of course, you know, that babies don’t decide whether or not to live?”

Kathy replied: “At that stage in my life, I did not know that. My concerns were almost paranoia.”

In a December 1996 entry, before the birth of her fourth child, Laura, Kathy wrote in her diary: “I know now that battling wills and sleep deprivation were the causes last time”.

Former NSW District Court judge Reginald Blanch, QC, who is heading the inquiry into her convictions, asked: “When you say the causes last time, the causes of …?”

“The causes of them dying,” she answered, having earlier told Blanch, “it was a wrong belief and a warped belief that my children had decided they weren’t staying with me any more.”

Kathy repeatedly expressed her innocence on the stand.

“I didn’t kill my children and these diaries are a record of just how depressed and how much trouble I was having and all of the issues that go with that,” she said.

Her friend Tracy Chapman notes: “Research shows in our mid 20’s to early 30’s we have poor cognition, limited critical thinking skills and judgement capacity. Hence the mish mash of diary entries that Kathy had been asked to put on paper by counsellors to help get the trauma of losing her children out of her head.

“Could Kath see how these may be interpreted by others? No. And they weren’t intended for others.

“Could she see their ambiguity and possible future interpretation. Definitely not … She was innocently dumping confused thoughts to help clear her head as she’d been asked to do by professionals.

“Kath’s diaries have been weaponized, which is the exact opposite of what they were intended for.”

The Daily Mail has again acted without journalistic ethics, headlining a story about the inquiry “Diary of a monster”.

According to the MEAA’s Journalist Code of Ethics, journalists should “Report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts. Do not suppress relevant available facts, or give distorting emphasis.”

The Daily Mail has shamefully and completely failed on that front.