Convicted child killer Kathleen Folbigg explains incriminating diary entries

By @chelean on
Kathleen Folbigg
Kathleen Folbigg walks into the New South Wales Supreme Court in Sydney. A jury on May 21, 2003 found Folbigg, 35, guilty of murdering three of her four children, guilty of the manslaughter of one of her other children, and guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm on another just months before his death. The murders occurred between 1991 and 1999. Picture taken May 19, 2003. Reuters/David Gray

Convicted child killer Kathleen Folbigg became Australia’s most hated woman in 2003 when the Supreme Court concluded that she killed her four children from 1989 to 1999. The diaries she kept served as evidence that her two sons and two daughters’ death were not accidental, but now she has explained why she wrote what she did.

Folbigg was tried and convicted of the murder of her children Patrick, Sarah and Laura, and the manslaughter of her son Caleb. She had claimed her first child, Caleb Gibson, was just days old when he died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Her second son, Patrick Allen, was a few months old when he suffered cardiac arrest, although the autopsy couldn’t find what had caused it.

Her third child, Sarah, was not even 1 year old when she also died of SIDS. And her fourth, Laura, made it to 19 months before she died. She had suffered from inflammation of the heart muscle, but it was not the cause of her death.

They were all tragic deaths, but no one initially suspected anything, until her husband, Craig Folbigg, found her diaries. Her words were taken by the courts as her admission of guilt, leading to her 2003 conviction. She was sentenced to 40 years in jail but was later reduced to 25 years on appeal.

Now, in phone calls to her friend and were recorded by Australian Story, Folbigg has spoken up for the first time about her case. She said she has explanation for the incriminating diary entries that she wrote did not mean her guilt.

“You’ve got to understand that those diaries are written from a point of me always blaming myself,” Folbigg said. “I blamed myself for everything. It’s just I took so much of the responsibility, because that’s as mothers, what you do.”

A few lines from her diaries included, “I felt like the worst mother on this Earth. Scared she’ll leave me now like Sarah did. I knew I was short-tempered and cruel sometimes to her, and she left. With a bit of help.”

She had also written, “I am my father’s daughter,” at one point. Her father killed her mother in 1969.

She has always maintained her innocence, though she opted not to give evidence during her trial. Her lawyers commissioned a report from Professor Stephen Cordner, who examined the medical evidence presented at trial. In his 2013 report, he concluded that there was no evidence or “positive forensic pathology support” for the idea that the babies had been killed. “Australian Story” consulted another expert, who agreed with the same conclusion.

Folbigg’s legal team are seeking for a judicial review of her case. The petition was lodged with the NSW Governor in 2015.

Folbigg’s story will be featured in “From Behind Bars” on “Australian Story” at 8 p.m. Monday on ABCTV.