Kathleen Folbigg was found guilty of killing her four children by opinions – medical, literary and her estranged husband’s opinion - nearly 20 years ago. There never was hard evidence of homicide in the infants’ deaths. This book traces her life story, the rise and fall of a medical mania that saw so-called ‘smother mothers’ imprisoned and then released as sound science replaced pseudo-scientific nonsense, and how her diaries were mis-read. The way the case against her was pursued will chill the blood of anyone who has ever gone out, fallen in love and considered having children, as that is all this woman did to get sentenced to 40 years. It explains in the language of the lay person why the finest minds in Australian science by the score joined in a petition - just let her out, fix your criminal justice system later – in a move without precedent anywhere. The scientific story is exciting, inspirational and a wake-up call. That Ms Folbigg is still behind bars today is a tale of pig-headedness, scientific illiteracy, poor judgement and perhaps implicit bias. Whatever, a good scrub won’t fix it; some reconstruction is needed. The strong woman at the core of this story has good friends and a legal team whose perseverance will replenish readers’ sense of what can be done. Among the expert witnesses are men and women whose commitment to the truth inspires. Their genetic and medical evidence is here made simple, digestible and compelling. The book lists some ideas for overdue legal reforms.
John Kerr has worked as a court reporter in the Australian press. He has published many true crime books, including Untold Violence, Walsh Street, Neddy: The Life and Crimes of Arthur Neddy Smith, The Phillip Island Murder, Hellbent: Ces Waters and Me and Roger Rogersons The Dark Side. He is the author of Wanted: John & Lucy, about a helicopter hijack and prison break, Bloody Relations: True
Stories of Murder in the Family and The Hit Men.
* Scientific and medical research suggesting the daughters may have died of natural causes was rejected by a judicial inquiry in 2019. Subsequent research published in 2020 has led ninety prominent Australian scientists and medical professionals, in March 2021, to petition the NSW Governor to pardon Folbigg, alleging all the deaths may be explained with genetics. This story attracted significant national media coverage at the time of Kathleen’s trial and this book will be backed by a major media campaign targeting popular TV shows & national media outlets.