The Australian woman was convicted for killing her children but experts say that there is a “strong presumption” they died from natural causes
Dozens of scientists and doctors have been demanding the release of Kathleen Folbigg, who is currently serving a 30 year jail sentence after having been convicted of killing her four children.
Folbigg, aged 53, was jailed back in 2003 for the murders of her children Patrick, Sarah and Laura, who were aged between eight months and 19 months, between the years of 1991 and 1999.
She was also found guilty for manslaughter of her firstborn child, Caleb, who was just 19 days old when he passed away in Newcastle in 1989.
But 76 scientists and doctors from Australia, along with 14 international experts, have said that there is new DNA evidence that could prove the children actually died from natural causes.
This comes after the Australian government has now officially acknowledged the extinction of 13 more endemic species, which includes 12 species of mammal, as well as the first reptile known to have been lost since Australia was colonised by Europe.
The group, which includes two Nobel laureates, have said that Folbigg should be immediately released from jail and pardoned for the crimes of which she was convicted.
They have said that the genetic sequencing of Sarah and Laura’s DNA, obtained from their neonatal heel prick tests, had showed that they had inherited a genetic mutation known as CALM2 from their mother.
Rhanee Rego, a Solicitor who has acted for Folbigg, said to the Australian Broadcasting Corp that the two boys, Patrick and Caleb, may have also carried different genetic mutations which contributed to their sudden deaths, which are still under investigation.
“We have a natural cause of death explanation for each of the children,” she said.
In a petition addressed to the New South Wales Governor Margaret Beazley, the scientists have said that the 18 years Folbigg has spent in jail have so far had been the “result of a miscarriage of justice”.
“Mutations in (the CALM2) gene are one of the best recognised causes of sudden death in infancy and childhood,” the petition read.
“Ms Folbigg’s convictions were based on the prosecution’s theory that she smothered all four children. Yet there is no medical evidence to indicate smothering.
“The governor should have no doubt that the case against Kathleen Folbigg is entirely circumstantial. It is based on the proposition that the likelihood of four children from one family dying of natural causes is so unlikely as to be virtually impossible.
This comes after a COVID-19 testing centre close to the capital of The Netherlands, Amsterdam, appears to have been targeted intentionally following an explosion before the testing site opened, police have now said.
“The medical evidence that now exists… creates a strong presumption that the Folbigg children died of natural causes.
“A reasonable person should have doubt about Ms Folbigg killing her four children. Deciding otherwise rejects medical science and the law that sets the standard of proof.”
Among the petition’s signatories were John Shine, the Australian Academy of Science president, the 2009 Nobel laureate Emeritus Professor Elizabeth Blackburn, as well as the former chief scientist for Australia Emeritus Professor Ian Chubb.
“Given the scientific and medical evidence that now exists in this case, signing this petition was the right thing to do,” Professor Shine said to the Sydney Morning Herald.