Australia / Oceania

Woman accused of killing her 4 infant children pardoned

New evidence has emerged, prompting officials to release and pardon Kathleen Folbigg, who was accused of killing her four children.

Kathleen Folbigg appears via video link during a convictions inquiry at Australia's New South Wales Coroners Court.
Joel Carrett/AP

After 20 years in prison, an Australian woman accused of killing her four infant children over the course of a decade has been released and given a full pardon. 

Authorities released Kathleen Folbigg after she was pardoned by New South Wales Gov. Margaret Beazley. 

The New South Wales government said that Folbigg was originally sentenced to 40 years, but had her sentence reduced to 30 years. Folbigg has consistently maintained her innocence. 

Last week, New South Wales lawmakers received a report that stated there is “reasonable doubt” in her conviction as investigators believe she was “wrongly convicted.” A preliminary report was delivered to New South Wales Attorney General Michael Daley from Tom Bathurst, who was previously New South Wales’ chief justice of the Supreme Court.

“I sought appropriate advice and weighed the options available to me carefully,” said Daley, adding the report provided “exceptional circumstances” for recommending a pardon. 

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Daley said he met with Beazley, who agreed to the pardon. 

“What is the difference between today and what transpired in the past is new evidence has come to light, and it’s appropriate we reconsider these sorts of questions in light of new evidence,” Daley said. 

Lawmakers said prior to her release, Folbigg “suffered in the hands of the State in the NSW prison system, having been abused and bashed while held inside.” They added, “Holding Ms Folbigg for even a day longer is a compounding of the worst of injustices.”

“I have to say her four little bubbers are dead, a husband and wife who lost their child, a woman has spent 20 years in jail and their family never had a chance so you would not be human if you don’t feel something about that,” Daley said.