Monday, 22 July, 2024
HomeMedico-LegalPardoned mother as rare genetic mutation linked to children’s death

Pardoned mother as rare genetic mutation linked to children’s death

An Australian woman convicted of killing her four infant children says a decision to pardon her after 20 years is “a victory for science” after evidence suggests the children all died from rare genetic abnormalities, and not from being smothered by their mother.

Kathleen Folbigg was released from prison last week after an inquiry upheld new evidence casting “reasonable doubt” on her convictions, reports the BBC.

That inquiry heard that all four children could have died from natural causes.

A team of immunologists found that her daughters, Sarah and Laura, shared a genetic mutation – called CALM2 G114R – that can cause sudden cardiac death. The heart condition, known as calmodulinopathy, is so rare that only 134 known cases have been detected worldwide.

Evidence was also uncovered that her sons possessed a different genetic mutation, linked to sudden-onset epilepsy in mice. One son, Patrick, had been having epileptic seizures in the months before his death.

The court also heard that the diary entries from Folbigg used in her original trial should not have been accepted as admissions of guilt.

Her ex-husband, Craig Folbigg, had contacted police after reading diary entries, which prosecutors later argued implied she had harmed the children. He still maintains she is guilty.

She will now seek to have her convictions quashed in the Court of Criminal Appeal.


BBC News article – Kathleen Folbigg: Mum pardoned for baby deaths claims win for science (Open access)


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Jailed Australia mother pardoned for deaths of her children


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