Review ordered into Australian mother convicted of killing her four children

By Euan McKirdy, CNN

A former chief judge will review the conviction of a woman described as Australia’s worst female serial killer, who currently is serving a lengthy prison sentence for murdering her four children.

Described by Australian media as “Australia’s most hated woman,” Kathleen Megan Folbigg was convicted in 2003 of the murder of three of her children, and the manslaughter of her fourth.

The four children died between the ages of 19 days and 19 months, over a 10-year period from 1989.

After an appeal, she was sentenced to 30 years in prison, with a non-parole period of 25 years. Folbigg has always maintained her innocence.

The inquiry was opened on the basis of a petition submitted by Folbigg, which calls into question evidence of the deaths of the children and suggests that they could have died of natural causes, Attorney-General Mark Speakman said in a statement. The case will be reviewed by former chief district court judge, Reginald Blanch.

The petition was submitted in 2015 by Folbigg’s lawyers, according to CNN affiliate Seven News.

The review was recommended to ensure “public confidence in the administration of justice,” the statement said. The decision to open an inquiry is not, however, “based on any assessment of Ms Folbigg’s guilt.”

While the inquiry is ongoing, Folbigg will remain in prison. If the inquiry “finds reasonable doubt” into her guilt, the matter could be referred to the Court of Criminal Appeal, the statement said.

Speakman said that he had spoken to the children’s father, Craig Folbigg, “to explain this immensely difficult decision.”

“I am sorry for the renewed distress and pain he and his family will endure because of the inquiry,” he added.