Ninety scientists, doctors call for Australian child killer Kathleen Folbigg to be released from prison

Kathleen Folbigg leaving Maitland Court after being refused bail in 2004.
Kathleen Folbigg leaving Maitland Court after being refused bail in 2004. Photo credit: Getty (file)

A convicted child killer in Australia has a group of 90 doctors and scientists calling for her release from jail due to new medical research that suggests she may be innocent.

Kathleen Folbigg was convicted in 2003 of smothering her four children to death over a ten-year period. 

After pleading not guilty, the 53-year-old was sentenced to 30 years behind bars. 

The group of experts are calling for her release after new research found the children may have died of natural causes because of a genetic mutation known as CALM2.

"It's one of the best-recognised causes of sudden death, both awake and asleep, in infants and adults," solicitor Rhanee Rego told the ABC. 

DNA testing has shown two of the children, Sarah and Laura, inherited the strain from their mother. 

The doctors and scientists have signed a petition which has the backing of former Australian of the Year Fiona Stanley, and Nobel prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn.

The petition argues Folbigg was found guilty due to "circumstantial evidence" found in a diary, saying stress made her "do terrible things" and that she felt like "the worst mother on this earth". 

The professionals believe it is likely the other two children Patrick and Caleb may have died from another similar genetic strain. 

Folbigg's legal team believes the new medical evidence should outweigh any evidence from the past due to the nature of the case. 

"We have a natural cause of death explanation for each of the children," Rego said.

If the new research proves Folbigg was not at fault, her convictions will be automatically overturned.

The case is now in the hands of the New South Wales Governor.