SUPPORT for the retrial of Australia’s worst convicted female serial killer is gathering pace with medical and legal specialists calling for her release from jail.
Last night’s episode of 60 Minutes aired fresh concerns about the conviction of Singleton’s Kathleen Folbigg for murdering her four children.
Folbigg was accused of smothering her babies, aged between 19 days and 19 months, with either her hand or a soft pillow between 1989 and 1999.
A 12-person jury found her guilty of three counts of murder and one count of manslaughter after a seven-week trial in the NSW Supreme Court in 2003.
Yet Australian academic lawyer Dr Emma Cunliffe claims Folbigg was wrongly convicted.
In her book, Murder, Medicine and Motherhood, Dr Cunliffe pointed to the failure of medical experts to determine a cause of death of any of the four children, suggesting there was never enough evidence to convict her of their murders.
‘‘An error has been made,’’ she told 60 Minutes last night.
‘‘There was no positive evidence of homicide in relation to any child.
‘‘She should walk.’’
Newcastle’s Helen Cummings, who has been visiting Folbigg in Silverwater Correctional Complex for the past two years, has been campaigning for a review into the decision.
She told the Newcastle Herald she believed Folbigg was innocent and was hopeful she would be free soon.
‘‘The review is rolling along and the solicitors are working hard on it,’’ she said.
‘‘All we can do is hope for the best.
‘‘I was happy with the report. I hope Kathy was watching, my heart is aching for her.’’
Child psychologist Dr Peter Fleming also voiced his concerns to 60 Minutes.
He said a lack of physical marks on Sarah, who was the fourth and last child to die, suggested she was not smothered.
‘‘I have very considerable doubt about the medical and scientific evidence given against her,’’ he said.
‘‘I have major reservations.’’
Never before seen footage of police interviews with Folbigg were also screened where she claimed that although a ‘‘battle of wills would kick in, the anger would kick in’’ at times with her kids, she never harmed them.
‘‘How can you hate a child?’’ she asked police.
As well as expert opinion about the causes of the babies’ death, a large part of the prosecution was based on damning excerpts from Folbigg’s personal diary.
One entry read:
‘‘Scared that she’ll [Laura] leave me now. Like Sarah [her third child] did. I knew I was short tempered and cruel sometimes to her and she left. With a bit of help.’’
Folbigg has appealed against her conviction twice previously.
She failed in her first attempt in 2004 yet saw her term of imprisonment reduced from 40 years to 30 years and her non-parole period reduced from 30 years to 25 years.
In 2007 the NSW Court of Appeal rejected a second appeal following claims of improper behaviour by the jury.
Folbigg’s former brother-in-law, John Folbigg, told the Herald earlier this year the family did not support a review.
He said Ms Cummings’ use of the word innocent was ‘‘offensive’’.
Mr Folbigg said he was not comfortable commenting on the 60 Minutes report last night.