AUSTRALIA’S “worst female serial killer” Kathleen Folbigg has suffered a blow to her hopes of being set free, reports claim.
Campaigners believe new scientific evidence will exonerate her in the deaths of her four children almost 20 years after she was convicted.
Kathleen Folbigg, pictured in 2019, has spent almost two decades in jail in AustraliaCredit: AP
Ex-husband Craig Folbigg maintains she killed their four childrenCredit: AAP
Her latest bid for freedom will reportedly rely on claims the children had genetic abnormalities and may have died from natural causes.
But her ex-husband Craig Folbigg has declined to give DNA evidence that experts said would provide “considerable assistance” .
He maintains Kathleen, now 54, smothered their two sons and two daughters to death.
And he cited financial struggles as his reason for not giving a sample ahead of a second public enquiry into the case.
Craig was denied funding for legal representation at the enquiry – while convicted killer Kathleen has her lawyers paid for, reports The Australian.
Lawyer Danny Eid said: “This whole inquiry was imposed on him and as the father who lost four children, he is a person who should be properly funded and represented before the inquiry.
“He has been placed in an untenable position that required me to withdraw from acting because he could not secure funding… bearing in mind that he is not a killer and even a killer is provided funding to defend themselves.”
Kathleen’s childhood pal Tracy Chapman said she was shocked Craig had decided to withhold his DNA.
She said: “It’s disappointing, but at the end of the day only Craig knows why.
“He has been told time and time again his DNA would be kept confidential, and it was not going to go on a database. You would think it would be a no-brainer.”
The fresh enquiry was ordered after 90 eminent scientists signed a petition calling for Kathleen to be pardoned last year.
Kathleen was convicted by a jury in 2003 of the manslaughter and murder of her four children between 1989 and 1999.
Eldest son Caleb died aged just 20 days, Patrick died at eight months, Sarah at ten months, and Laura died aged 18 months.
They were initially put down to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – but Craig later found incriminating diaries written by his wife.
She wrote about her “dangerous moods” and “losing control like last times”, and admitted the “stress made me do terrible things”.
She also wondered if she was schizophrenic and said she “deserved” not to have a fourth child when she was struggling to conceive.
“Obviously I am my father’s daughter,” Kathleen wrote in 1996 – referring to her professional hitman dad who murdered her mother.
She was jailed for 40 years, with a minimum jail term of 30 years which was later reduced to 25 years on appeal.
Kathleen Folbigg’s diaries
The mum was convicted on largely circumstantial evidence in Australia, in 2003. Below are extracts from Folbigg’s diaries showing her original grammar and uncorrected spelling:
June 3 (year unclear)
“This was the day Patrick Allan David Folbigg was born. I had mixed feelings this day. Wether or not I was going to cope as a mother or wether I was going to get stressed out like I did last time. I often regret Calab and Patrick, only because your life changes so much.”
June 18, 1996 (After the deaths of her first three children)
“I’m ready this time. And I know Ill have help and support this time. When I think I’m going to loose control like last times Ill just hand baby over to someone else … I have learnt my lesson this time.”
June 22, 1996
“I watched a movie today about shizophrenia wonder if I have a mild curse of that … in my most dangerous mood, I’m not nice to be around & always want to be anywhere, but where I am. As long as it has music & men to show off to.”
July 21, 1996
“Depressed a little now. Probably because it will be another couple of months before I’m pregnant. Pretty sure Im not now, had or having what I think is a period -God I hope so or else these tablets will cause brain damage. Probably would be just desserts for me concidering! I truly deserve anything life throws at me so my philosophy is whatever happens, happens & its the way it shall be.”
October 14, 1996
“Children thing still isn’t happening. Thinking of forgetting the idea. Nature, fate & the man upstairs have decided I don’t get a 4th chance. And rightly so I suppose. I would like to make all my mistakes & terrible thinking be corrected & mean something though. Plus Im ready to continue my family time now. Obviously I’m my father’s daughter.”
December 4, 1996 (When she was pregnant with Laura)
“I’m ready this time … if I have a clingy baby, then so be it. A cat napper so be it. That will be when I will ask for help & sleep whenever I can. To keep myself in a decent mood. But I’ve already decided if I get any feelings of jealousy or anger to much I will leave Craig & baby, rather than answer being as before … I now know that battling wills & sleep depravaision were the causes last time.”
January 1, 1997
“Another year gone and what a year to come.
“I have a baby on the way which means major personal sacrifice for both of us, but I feel confident about it all going well.
“This time I am going to call for help, this time I’ll not attempt to do everything myself any more.
“I know that that was my main reason for all my stress before and stress made me do terrible things…”
February 4, 1997
“Still can’t sleep. Seem to be thinking of Patrick & Sarah & Calab. Makes me seriously wonder wether I’m stupid or doing the right thing by having this baby.
“My guilt of how responsible I feel for them all, haunts me, my fear of it happening again, haunts me. What scares me most will be when I’m alone with baby? How do I overcome that? Defeat that?”
April 28, 1997
“I think this baby deserves everything I can give her. Concidering I really gave nothing to the others. I think even my feelings towads this one are already deeper shame, but that’s the way it is. I think its because Im 30 now and ready to bring up a child. Obvioslly I wasn’t ready before at all.”
July 6, 1997
“Hopefully preparing myself will mean the end of my dark moods, or at least the ability to see it coming & say to or someone hey, I’m getting overwelmed here, help me out. That will be the key to this babies survival. It surley will.”
August 25, 1997 (The first diary entry after Laura’s birth)
“Scary feelings, I’ve realised I actually love her & have bonded with her…
“maternal instinct, is what they call it. I know now I never had it with the others. Monitor is a good idea. Nothing can happen without the monitor knowing & since I’m not game enough not to plug it in, because theyde want to know why I hadn’t, everything will be fine this time.”
September 20, 1997
“Sleep, who needs it. Yes I’m getting a little irritable now. This is my punishment for the others to be continually woken up because this time we know that we have a child with a sleeping disorder.
“Am getting very stressed, because I can’t rely on Craig for any real help or support. How dare he complain to me about lack of sleep – what the f*** would he know. Think he’ll have to sleep in the other room. Just so He’s not disturbed – selfish p***k. Well now I know where I stand. Craig is refusing to help & hasn’t attempted to in any way. Just wants me to bear all the stress, so he can keep selling his cars and making money.”
In 2019 Kathleen made her first public appearance in 16 years during the first public enquiry.
She told the court a supermarket clairvoyant had told her she was surrounded by the “happy” spirits of her four babies.
Kathleen again denied killing the children, saying the diaries were simply a record of her depression.
That enquiry took 11 months and upheld her convictions.
But a fresh one was ordered because it did not fully examine the impact of genetic mutations.
Supporters say there is evidence from an international group of researchers that can explain all four deaths.
A website campaigning on her behalf claims: “There is no basis in forensic pathology that any of the children were smothered”.
Instead, researchers believe Kathleen’s daughters inherited a genetic mutation from her called CALM2 G114R.
This causes a condition called calmodulinopathy, which can trigger sudden cardiac death in very young children, scientists say.
The researchers also believe Caleb and Patrick had another genetic mutation that could have led to their deaths.
They wanted Craig’s DNA to build a fuller profile as half a child’s genes are inherited from the father.
Kathleen Folbigg is making a fresh bid for freedomCredit: EPA
Folbigg was convicted of the manslaughter of her 20-day-old son Caleb in 1989Credit: AAP
Second son Patrick was murdered aged eight months, a jury foundCredit: AAP
Sarah Folbigg was one of four children who died before they turned twoCredit: AAP
Youngest child Laura died aged 18 months in 1999Credit: AAP
Kathleen Folbigg was convicted of manslaughter and three counts of murder in 2003Credit: EPA
Husband Craig Folbigg speaks outside the court in Sydney in 2003Credit: AAP
Scientists believe the children could have died from natural causesCredit: Daily Telegraph
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