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Australia's 'Worst Female Serial Killer': Why Scientists Want Kathleen Folbigg Pardoned

File photo of Kathleen Folbigg walking into the New South Wales Supreme Court in
Sydney. (Credit: REUTERS)

File photo of Kathleen Folbigg walking into the New South Wales Supreme Court in Sydney. (Credit: REUTERS)

A petition which has been signed by over 90 experts, are now attributing the deaths of Patrick, Sarah, Laura, and Caleb to natural causes and saying that the charges against Kathleen that she smothered her children might be wrong.

Scientists and medical experts have been rallying support to release Kathleen Folbigg, the Australian convicted serial killer after new evidence reportedly has surfaced of Folbigg not being responsible for the death of her four children. Appealing to the Australian government, experts have said that the deaths of Folbigg’s 4 children was possibly due to natural causes arising out of a a genetic mutation termed as CALM2. The incidents took place during 1989 to 1999 and Folbigg has been behind bars since 2003. Kathleen has been convicted of murdering three of her children, and the manslaughter of another son.

A petition which has been signed by over 90 experts, are now attributing the deaths of Patrick, Sarah, Laura, and Caleb to natural causes and saying that the charges against Kathleen that she smothered her children might be faulty, The Guardian said.

Kathleen who was reportedly convicted after a seven-week trial based on circumstantial evidence. Her diary entries were also taken into account where she had often jotted down her changes in mood towards her children, said the report. Her diaries reportedly had entries that read, “Wouldn’t of handled another one like Sarah. She’s saved her life by being different. She’s a fairly good natured baby, thank goodness, it will save her from the fate of her siblings. I think she was warned.”

Another entry also read, “With Sarah all I wanted was her to shut up. And one day she did.”

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However, no scientists have based their findings on the genomic sequencing of Kathleen and four of her children, that were found from the hospital where they were born. The hospital supplied them with tiny bits of blood that was recorded using heel-prick cards at birth.

The report said that Folbigg had a previously unreported mutation and it also explained the reasons behind the concept of her children’s death. “Caleb and Patrick’s genomes showed a separate rare genetic variant in the BSN gene, which in studies in mice had been linked to early lethal epileptic fits. Patrick had been diagnosed with epilepsy four months before his birth, and Caleb had a floppy larynx and difficulty breathing,” the report was quoted as saying.

The petition urging to free Folbigg has been submitted to the Governor of New South Wales.

Kathleen’s children were between age 19 days to 19 months when they all died. The doctors had earlier attributed the death of Patrick, aged eight months in 1991 to asphyxia following an epileptic fit. Sarah’s death at 10 months old in 1993 was initially attributed to Sudden infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Laura was 19 months in 1999 and her death was reported as by unknown causes whereas Caleb’s death at 19 days was also attributed to SIDS.

Kathleen’s sentence was reduced on appeal in 2005 from 40 to 30, with a non-parole period of 25 years.