Woman was sentenced for the death of her babies in Australia, but a scientific revelation gives her her freedom

The review of the case of Kathleen Folbigg, sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2003 for the murder of her four babies, ended this Thursday, opening the possibility that she be pardoned, after An investigation coordinated by a Spanish scientist pointed out that the deaths could be due to genetic failures.

Ex-judge Thomas Bathurst, in charge of the review, will be required to produce a report indicating whether to refer the case to the Criminal Court of Appeal, which may or may not reverse the conviction, or to the governor of the New South Wales region for her recommendation. pardon, without a specific deadline for its publication, according to the Australian public broadcaster ABC.

However, the New South Wales Department of Justice said there is no deadline for the Bathurst report to be published.

rare genetic mutation

The Australian authorities ordered last year to review the case of Folbigg for the death between 1989 and 1999 of his children Caleb, Patrick, Sarah and Laura -when they were between 19 days and 18 months old-, after a group of scientists indicated the possibility that these deaths were due to a rare genetic mutation.

In the review, which began in November last year, it was argued that there is a reasonable doubt about Folbigg's responsibility in the death of minors.

The deaths of the Folbigg babies could be due to genetic causes, as concluded by a team of scientists, coordinated by the Spanish immunologist Carola García de Vinuesa and led by the Danish Michael Toft Overgaard, in 2020.

The scientific research, published in the specialized magazine europacefrom the European Association of Cardiology, links a genetic mutation (CALM2) in two of Folbigg's daughters, Sarah and Laura, to sudden cardiac death.

In addition, the study, made up of an international team of 27 scientists, found that the children carried rare variants of a gene that kills rodents by epileptic seizures.

Folbigg defended his innocence

Folbigg was sentenced in 2003 to 30 years in prison for the murder of three of her children and for the homicide of another of them, and she has unsuccessfully appealed her sentence on several occasions, defending her innocence and assuring that her children died of natural causes. in the town of Hunter Valley, about 120 kilometers from Sydney.

The case was reopened as a result of a letter sent in March 2021 by a hundred scientists – including two Nobel Prize winners – to request the pardon and immediate release of the Australian from the Governor General of New South Wales, Margaret Beazley.

All the babies were sick with different ailments: the first, Caleb, with laryngomalacia; the second, Patrick, had very severe epilepsy and died of an epileptic seizure, while Sarah was taking antibiotics for a respiratory infection and Laura suffered from myocarditis.

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