Scientists cast doubts over Kathleen Folbigg's killings of her four children

Friday, March 5
AUSTRALIA


By Ciarán Mather

It is a sad fact of life that, no matter how effective a country's justice system is, there will always be a small number of people who will be wrongly convicted.

Now, it seems that some forensic experts strongly believe that Kathleen Folbigg, an Australian woman convicted of the deaths of four of her children may be one such case.

A petition signed by 90 scientists has said that advancements in the fields of forensic science now indicate that there is evidence that the children actually died from natural causes.

Folbigg was convicted in 2003 of the murder of three of her children and the manslaughter of another child of hers.

Ian Connellan, editor-in-chief of the Royal Institution of Australia and publisher of COSMOS, explained in a statement: 'The key factor is that the science has shifted in this case, through new knowledge.”

'This long list of incredibly learned and eminent Australians is demanding justice be served.'

According to the medical records, the four children suffered from a series of conditions before they died in 1989: the first boy, Caleb, had difficulties breathing since birth, while the second, Patrick, suffered epileptic seizures.

Folbigg's two girls, Sarah and Laura, also had respiratory infections only a few days before their deaths.

Scientists say these conditions suggest that if there was a single underlying natural cause it could actually be a genetic one.

Specifically, they found a gene known as CALM2, which controls how calcium is transported in and out of heart cells.

The team who made the discovery explained to The Conversation: 'Mutations in this gene are one of the best-recognised causes of sudden death in infancy and childhood.'

In 2019, Folbigg denied killing her children in a rage at an enquiry and instead claimed that 'a supernatural power' took three of her four children away.

Ms. Folbigg added that an entry in her personal diary for January 1997 in which she said she had done 'terrible things' due to stress did not mean she had murdered her first three children and accidentally killed the fourth.