Killer mum’s explanation: God ‘helped’ my kids die

13th August 2018 7:28 PM
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AUSTRALIA'S worst female serial killer has broken her silence from behind bars to finally explain the chilling diary entries that led to her conviction.

Kathleen Folbigg was jailed in 2003 for 40 years for the murder of her infant children Patrick, Sarah and Laura and the manslaughter of her first child Caleb.

Kathleen Folbigg says the “bit of help” she wrote about her child getting in order to die referred to God not her.
Kathleen Folbigg says the “bit of help” she wrote about her child getting in order to die referred to God not her.

Her conviction was partly based on her personal diaries in which she recorded her innermost thoughts, including the line that 19-month-old daughter Laura had left "with a bit of help".

"That was a reference to God," Folbigg wrote to her best friend Tracy Chapman in a letter seen by The Daily Telegraph. "Since he had taken my previous children.

"It definitely did not mean I was the help. Good Lord!! Well, actually, no, not Good Lord, not back then," she wrote.

The ABC's Australian Story has taped 15 six-minute phone calls Folbigg made from jail to her former Newcastle school friend Ms Chapman in recent weeks to allow the convicted child killer a chance to publicly make her plea for a judicial inquiry.

 

Folbigg’s diary entries.
Folbigg’s diary entries.

Tonight's episode is the first time her voice has been heard since her police interview was aired at her trial, which heard that each of her children died because of sudden "cessation of breathing". She refused to take the stand to defend herself.

Folbigg told Ms Chapman she had dumped her "frustration at not being a good enough mother" into her personal diaries and the entries had been taken out of context.

"I know my diaries hung me only because of how extracts were removed and fitted to the theory of my guilt," she said.

Sarah Folbigg died at age 10 months.
Sarah Folbigg died at age 10 months.

Her plea for understanding comes as Attorney-General Mark Speakman considers a petition and appeal for a judicial inquiry into her case compiled by sympathetic academics and friends.

"Ms Folbigg's petition raises complex questions to which I am giving appropriate consideration. I expect to be in a position to resolve the matter in the near future," Mr Speakman said.

The attempt to get her case re-examined has been spearheaded by a Newcastle legal team and features research by Professor Stephen Cordner from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, who has questioned the medical evidence that contributed to her conviction.

The campaign attracted the support of radio host Alan Jones, who has visited Folbigg in Silverwater jail, and has prompted tonight's Australian Story on ABC.

Kathleen Folbigg leaves the Supreme Court in 2003 during her murder trial. Picture: Craig Greenhill
Kathleen Folbigg leaves the Supreme Court in 2003 during her murder trial. Picture: Craig Greenhill

Folbigg said she was "frustrated" at the long wait for a decision from the Attorney-General. "If I can get myself heard in any way, then I guess my last fifteen years in prison will be worth it," she told Ms Chapman.

But Nicholas Cowdery, who was Director of Public Prosecutions at the time of Folbigg's trial, said he had seen the petition she had lodged: "I remain of the view that the jury was correct."

Another of her diary entries included the line, "Obviously I am my father's daughter." Folbigg's father Thomas Britton stabbed her mother Kathleen to death after she left him.

Laura Folbigg died at 19 months.
Laura Folbigg died at 19 months.