Who Is Convicted Child Serial Killer Kathleen Folbigg?

She became one of the ‘most hated women’ in Australia. Now Kathleen Folbigg will have her say.

It was a sensational case that captured national attention, and now convicted serial killer Kathleen Folbigg’s lawyers are renewing a push for her freedom.

In May 2003, Folbigg was tried and found guilty of killing her four young children separately over a ten-year period.

It was during the 1990s when 20-day-old Caleb, eight-month-old Patrick, 10-month-old Sarah and 18-month-old Laura died in the Hunter Region of New South Wales.

Caleb Folbigg (L), Patrick Folbigg (R). Image: AAP

Post-mortems reportedly failed to establish why each child died suddenly and unexpectedly due to “cessation of breathing”.

While Folbigg has maintained her innocence, she was sentenced to 40 years’ jail for the manslaughter of her first child Caleb and the murder of the three infants: Patrick, Sarah and Laura.

“Look, it was just so overwhelming. There are no words. There are no words to even describe it,” Folbigg is heard saying in a taped conversation with a friend that will for the first time be aired on the ABC’s Australian Story on Monday night.

Kolbigg’s sentence was reduced to 30 years on appeal. But as she serves out her sentence, her lawyers and forensic experts have cast doubt on the evidence that formed a major part of the case against her.

‘Incriminating diary entries’

Folbigg has always maintained her innocence, claiming her children each died of natural causes.

The Crown case was that she had smothered all four infants due to a low stress threshold and resentment towards them. 

When Folbigg chosen to not give evidence during trial, the prosecution relied heavily on a series of diary entries discovered by her then husband Craig, who then became a witness.

A page from one of Folbigg's diaries from 1997 which made up part of the evidence that led to her conviction. Image: AAP

“Scared she’ll leave me now, like Sarah did,” Folbigg wrote of Laura in one entry.

“I knew I was short tempered and cruel sometimes to her and she left -- with a bit of help”.

A clinical psychologist with Folbigg’s legal team argued the entries aligned with the thoughts and grief reactions of mothers whose own children have died.

Folbigg is understood to speak of her diary entries in a recorded phone call on Monday night’s Australian Story.

Laura Folbigg. She appears in a home video (L) the day before she died. Image: AAP
Lawyers waiting for cue following ‘fresh evidence’

In 2015, Folbigg’s lawyers handed the NSW Governor a petition seeking a judicial review of her case.

It contained a report from Australian forensic pathologist Professor Stephen Cordner who wrote: “If the convictions in this case are to stand, I want to clearly state there is no pathological or medical basis for concluding homicide.”

“It seems not to have been explicitly stated in the trial, but there is no forensic pathology evidence, no signs in or on the bodies to positively suggest that the Folbigg children were smothered or killed by any means."

That was three years ago, and her legal team are still waiting for an answer.

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman said the petition “raises complex questions to which I am giving appropriate consideration and have taken extensive advice”.

“I hope to be in a position to make an announcement in the near future,” he said in a statement on Monday.