Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
A serial killer jailed for killing her four children could be freed after new evidence emerged showing they all carried a mutant sudden death gene.
Kathleen Folbigg, 54, was jailed in 2003 for murdering three children and the manslaughter of her fourth between 1989 and 1999.
All of the children died a few weeks or months after birth and the diagnosis was always the same, sudden infant death syndrome.
The first of the four children died a few days after birth, the second died four months after birth, the third at 10 months, and the fourth did not reach 18 months of life.
There was no hard evidence or signs of violence on the victims, but Folbigg was sentenced to 30 years in prison despite maintaining her innocence throughout.
Now a Spanish scientist and her research team have said that a genetic mutation could have caused the death of all four children.
Australian judicial authorities have agreed to review the case, according to Spanish media.
Dr Carola Garcia Vinuesa, who is fighting for Folbigg’s release because she is convinced the children died of natural causes, said the mother “was only convicted on circumstantial evidence, there was no direct evidence that she had killed her children”.
Dr Vinuesa said: “In the mother and two girls, we found a mutation in a gene called calm2, which encodes a protein called calmodulin, and when it is mutated, it causes an arrhythmia that leads to cardiac arrest and sudden death”.
Dr Vinuesa and her team have determined that this type of mutation has caused the sudden death in several young children.
With the new evidence, the Australian authorities have agreed to review the conviction.
Dr Vinuesa also said that specific phrases in Folbigg’s diary were taken out of context during her trial.
She said: “Forty words were taken out of context in diaries that were 50,000 words long. Psychiatric experts have written reports and agree that there was nothing incriminating in the diaries, just a slightly depressed mother who felt responsible.
In March 2021, Dr Vinuesa and over 100 prominent scientists signed a petition calling for the authorities to pardon Folbigg, giving medical and scientific reasons for each of the children’s deaths.
It is unclear when the Australian authorities intend to review the case.