Kathleen Folbigg pardoned after 20 years in jail over killing her four children

Twenty years after she was imprisoned for killing her four children, Kathleen Folbigg has been pardoned and released from jail.

NSW Attorney-General Michael Daley told a packed media conference that he had received the preliminary findings of a recent inquiry headed by retired chief justice Tom Bathurst.

He said Mr Bathurst had concluded he was firmly of the view that there was reasonable doubt about Ms Folbigg’s guilt.

Mr Daley said he had sought legal advice over the weekend and weighed up his options carefully.

“I consider that his reasons establish exceptional circumstances of the kind that weigh heavily in favor of the grant of a free pardon,” he said.

“And that in the interests of justice Ms Folbigg should be released from custody as soon as possible.”

Retired chief justice Tom Bathurst KC presided over the Kathleen Folbigg inquiry.()

The attorney-general said he met with NSW Governor Margaret Beazley this morning and recommended she exercise the Royal prerogative of mercy and grant the prisoner an unconditional pardon.

“Ms Folbigg has now been pardoned,” he said.

Mr Daley said Ms Folbigg was notified this morning.

He said he spoke to the father of the four children, Craig Folbigg, to inform him of the decision.

“I am thinking of him today as well,” he said.

“It will be a tough day for him.”

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In a statement late on Monday night, Mr Folbigg’s lawyer said his client’s view had not changed.

“Mr Folbigg’s view of the guilt of Ms Folbigg has not changed at all,” Danny Eid said.

“Ms Folbigg has not been acquitted of the crimes, and her convictions are not displaced.”

A ‘steak and a bath’

The pardon follows a long campaign for justice by Ms Folbigg’s supporters.

Speaking from her home in Newcastle, friend Helen Cummings said the released prisoner would be enjoying a “well-done T-bone steak”.

“It’s going to be a big day for her, having that steak and a bath,” she said.

She said her friend would face significant obstacles in adapting to life outside.

“She doesn’t know a lot about the modern world, computers, iPhones, traffic rules, new buildings,” she said.

“In 20 years so much has changed.”

Supporters revealed Ms Folbigg will stay at the home of her childhood friend Tracy Chapman, near Coffs Harbour.

Kathleen Folbigg’s first taste of freedom is in a property near Coffs Harbor on the Mid North Coast.()

“I know the past 20 years have been horrific for Kathleen, not least for the pain and suffering she has had to endure following the loss of her four children,” Ms Chapman said.

“They were gorgeous children … they all missed every day.”

Ms Folbigg and her best friend are holding a pajama party for her first night out of prison, according to Greens MP Sue Higginson.

‘Justice has been done’

Ms Higginson said: “Right now justice has been done and it’s not a day too soon.”

“Now all power to Kathleen as she tries to remedy and seek some justice in retrospect for the 20 years she has lost.”

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