Kathleen Folbigg is free. Here’s what she made

On her first night out in 20 years, Kathleen Folbigg ate pizza with her closest friends and supporters.

She slept in a real bed, drank her tea in real crockery, and enjoyed her first glass of liquor—a Kahlua and a Coke—in many years.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Kathleen Folbigg’s best friend and attorney speaks to the media.

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She flipped through a TV with endless possibilities — something that didn’t exist when she was imprisoned in 2003.

She was introduced to an iPhone but gave up after becoming “confused.”

Folbigg was released from prison on Monday morning after an inquest into convictions that she had killed her four children was pardoned, finding there was reasonable doubt about her guilt.

Sarah, Caleb, Laura, and Patrick Folbigg all died as infants between 1989 and 1999.

NSW Attorney General Michael Daley announced Monday morning that he had asked NSW Governor Margaret Beazley to exercise the royal clemency and grant Folbigg an unconditional pardon.

Folbigg and Chapman reunited outside of prison on Monday. Credit: 7NEWS
Chapman beamed as she addressed the media on Tuesday morning. Credit: Leigh Jensen/AAP

“The governor agreed. Ms Folbigg has now been pardoned,” Daley said on Monday.

Around the same time, Folbigg was leaving prison, and her longtime friend and fervent supporter, Tracy Chapman, was given just 40 minutes’ notice to prepare for her arrival.

It was “chaos,” she said.

When they finally got back together, the two hugged and although they hadn’t cried yet, they jumped up for joy at their victory.

“None of us could really believe it … Everything was a little bit surreal yesterday,” Chapman told reporters Tuesday morning.

“She is so grateful to be surrounded by her friends and family and her beloved legal team.

“We are so grateful that she is here. She actually said to me this morning, “My facial muscles hurt from smiling so much.”

Folbigg is grateful, Chapman said, and she has no hate in her heart.

Kathleen Folbigg was pardoned after 20 years in prison.

Kathleen Folbigg was pardoned after 20 years in prison.

“Tragical story”

But the system “failed her at every step,” her attorney, Rhanee Rego, said Tuesday.

“The state did the unimaginable to Kathleen Folbigg,” she said.

“They put her in jail when she lost her four children. This is a tragic story.

“Rather than understand why her children died, we threw her in jail, locked her up and labeled her Australia’s worst serial killer.

“It’s unbelievable… none of us can put ourselves in Kathleen’s shoes. We cannot bear their grief, no one can.”

The Folbigg children. Credit: 7NEWS
Folbigg during an investigation in 2019. Credit: AAP

Folbigg has struggled against her beliefs since her initial incarceration.

“It’s been 20 years and it’s been a very hard, long work,” Chapman said.

She was initially sentenced to 40 years in prison, including 30 years without parole. On appeal, her sentence was later reduced to 30 years, with a 25-year non-parole period.

She appealed the convictions of the past two decades, but to no avail. A 2019 study also confirmed her beliefs.

Fresh start and next steps

Although Folbigg was pardoned, her conviction remains.

They could, however, be overturned if the Inquiry’s chairman, Chief Justice Tom Bathurst, refers the matter to the Criminal Court of Appeal – something that Folbigg’s legal team has requested.

“We…stand by her throughout this journey to ensure her name is cleared and that she does the right thing,” Rego said.

Should her conviction be overturned, it would be up to Folbigg to start civil proceedings against the state of NSW.

In the meantime, she and her legal team are awaiting Bathurst’s full report, which he is expected to deliver within a few weeks.

Folbigg makes a cup of tea and enjoys her freedom for the first time in 20 years. Credit: 7NEWS
Kathleen Folbigg in 2006. Credit: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Bathurst has previously said he “has come to the firm conclusion that there is a reasonable doubt as to Ms Folbigg’s guilt for each of the offenses with which she was initially charged”.

His testimony sparked Daley’s request for Folbigg’s pardon.

While she’s currently high on adrenaline, Folbigg is enjoying the little pleasures she’s been missing out on – watching the sunrise, hearing the birds outside, having a nice blanket and hugging some animals.

Eventually she will choose furniture for her new home, buy some clothes and start over.

“She just wants to be able to live the life that she’s missed for the last 20 years and move on,” Chapman said.

“She will just honor her children’s memory every day, just as she has for 24 years,” added Rego.

James Brien

James Brien is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. James Brien joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: jamesbrien@24ssports.com.

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