Convicted baby killer Kathleen Folbigg has been pictured for the first time in 16 years, having not been seen since 2003 when she was locked up over the deaths of her four young children.
The mother, who has previously been dubbed “Australia’s most hated woman”, appeared at the NSW Coroners Court on Monday looking downcast, as an inquiry commenced into the deaths of her children.
Her once bold red locks have since turned grey, while the lines around Folbigg’s eyes were evident after more than a decade in prison for the murders of Patrick, Sarah and Laura – and manslaughter of Caleb.
The four, aged between just 19 days and 19 months, were found dead in the decade from 1989, however Folbigg has always maintained her innocence and has suggested that her children all died of natural causes.
Nine News reports that the 51-year-old broke down in court as she stood in the witness box to address a series of concerning diary entries that she penned about her children, which formed a crucial part of the prosecution argument.
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In one entry she described herself as “the worst mother on this earth”, while she said she was “short-tempered and cruel” in another. A further message said one of her daughters left “with a bit of help”, although Folbigg denies it was a confession of murder.
Years after she was jailed over their deaths, Folbigg is now being questioned again about six of her diaries which were compiled during the 10 year period, Nine News reports.
According to the news outlet, prosecutor Chris Maxwell paid particular attention to one entry in 1990 where she wrote: “I often regret Caleb and Patrick only because your life changes so much…”
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However, it was the words she wrote in 1997, before the birth of her daughter Laura, that she reportedly struggled to discuss during the court hearing.
She is alleged to have said in a diary entry that she was scared of being alone with her child and that the kids “pushed her buttons” causing her to “snap her cog”.
When questioned by Maxwell, Folbigg claimed the phrase had nothing to do with harming her children and it could have been an expression of “slight frustration”, Nine News reports. According to the ABC, the mother said the diary entries were simply a way to “vent” her frustration.
Folbigg’s appearance in court follows an episode of ABC’s Australian Story in December of last year, in which the killer spoke to a friend from prison about life behind bars and some of the events leading to her multiple murder convictions.
She explained what the incriminating diary entries actually meant, and insisted they weren’t confessions.
“You’ve got to understand that those diaries are written from a point of me always blaming myself,” she can be heard saying in one audio recording. “I blamed myself for everything. It’s just I took so much of the responsibility, because that’s, as mothers, what you do.”