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Scientists call for release of ‘Australia’s worst female serial killer’. Here’s why

Medical and scientific experts have called for the release of convicted serial killer Kathleen Folbigg, saying strong evidence suggests that the woman is not responsible for the deaths of her four infant children.

Kathleen Folbigg has been in jail since 2003 after she was convicted of murdering her three children, and the manslaughter of another son between 1990 and 1999.

However, a petition signed by 90 eminent scientists has been reportedly released by the Australian Academy of Science in which experts have pointed to evidence the children died from natural causes and argued that the woman dubbed as ‘baby killer’ be released, as per a report in The Guardian.

Why scientists want ‘baby killer’ to be pardoned?

Experts argued that all four of Kathleen Folbigg’s children had rare genetic conditions that could explain their deaths.

In the petition, which has signatures of leading global experts of rare genetic disorders, experts said rare genetic mutations could explain the children’s sudden deaths.

Dubbed Australia’s worst female serial killer, Kathleen maintained her innocence. (Photo:AAPImgae/DailyMail)

The petition is reportedly based on the full genomic sequencing of Folbigg and her four children. Genomic sequencing found that two of Folbigg’s daughters, Sarah and Laura, had a genetic mutation.

The report said that Folbigg had a previously unreported mutation which could be linked to sudden cardiac death.

“Caleb and Patrick’s genomes showed a separate rare genetic variant in the BSN gene, which in studies in mice had been linked to early lethal epileptic fits. Patrick had been diagnosed with epilepsy four months before his birth, and Caleb had a floppy larynx and difficulty breathing,” the report added.

On slim chances of one family losing four babies from natural causes, one of the researchers pushing for Folbigg’s freedom told The Guardian, “in genetics, one-off events are commonplace.

The petition has now been submitted to the Governor of New South Wales.

Who is Kathleen Folbigg and what is the case?

Kathleen Folbigg was jailed for killing her four babies Caleb, Patrick, Sarah and Laura. The infants were aged between 19 days and 19 months. Folbigg was accused of smothering her children during periods of frustration and jailed on charges of murder and manslaughter.

While Patrick, who died aged eight months in 1991, was initially attributed to asphyxia following an epileptic fit, Sarah, who died at 10 months in 1993 was initially attributed to SIDS.

Laura died aged 19 months in 1999 with cause unknown and the manslaughter of Caleb, whose death at just 19 days old in 1990 was also attributed to SIDS.

While there was no physical evidence, prosecutors pointed to a series of diary entries.

“This time I am going to call for help, this time I’ll not attempt to do everything myself any more. I know that that was my main reason for all my stress before and stress made me do terrible things,” one diary entry read.

Another entry said: “With Sarah all I wanted was her to shut up. And one day she did.”

Folbigg was said to have shown no emotions during her trial, which coloured public perception of her.

When asked to explain her diary entries, Kathleen said she believed a supernatural power took her children away, and the entries were reflective of the guilt she felt as a mother having lost children to natural causes.

www.indiatoday.in

India Today

India Today is a weekly Indian English-language news magazine published by Living Media India Limited. It is the most widely circulated magazine in India, with a readership of close to 8 million. In 2014, India Today launched a new online opinion-orientated site called the DailyO.

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