In a raw and highly anticipated interview, Kathleen Folbigg has opened up about her newfound freedom, adjusting to life outside prison, and the harrowing experience of incarceration that has defined much of her adult life.
Folbigg was imprisoned in 2003 after being convicted for the deaths of her children—Sarah, Caleb, Laura, and Patrick—occurring between 1989 and 1999.
However, a recent inquiry into her murder and manslaughter convictions revealed fresh scientific evidence which found there was “reasonable doubt” regarding Folbigg’s guilty verdict.
Folbigg, who has always maintained her innocence, was released on Monday, June 5 after having completed 20 years of her 25-year sentence.
Folbigg, 56, recently spoke candidly with Natalie Barr for 7Spotlight and offered some insight into her new life and how she is adjusting.
“It probably will be a while before I sort of go, ‘Okay, yeah. That Kathleen person’s actually me,'” she said on Unbroken – The Kathleen Folbigg story.
“I always see myself just as a very simple Novacastrian, Newcastle girl, who, though I might have lost four children, led a very normal life.”
— 7NEWS Spotlight (@7NewsSpotlight) October 11, 2023
Folbigg shared harrowing details of her time in prison, recalling the daunting realisation of being a marked woman from day one.
“You go into prison for this thing that I was charged with, and you’re in deep trouble,” she said.
She went on to explain that she was labelled “kid killer” and a “filthy piece of s**t” by fellow prisoners.
“Girls yelling out all night or screaming abuse at me or threats. Death threats,” she said.
She also recounted a distressing incident when she was subjected to a physical assault.
“One decided to guard the door, one chick came running in and just literally punched me in the face,” she recalled.
“I didn’t respond in any way because it was a surprise – a surprise attack. The biggest purple shiner you could ever have seen. But I didn’t do anything about it because, unfortunately, jail code is you just don’t.”
Undeterred by her past and the years spent behind bars, Folbigg explained that she is embracing an optimistic outlook for what lies ahead.
“For me … I’d like to think that people can take away a message that you can survive it, you can move on from it. And that, for me, the future is everything. And your future is anything,” she said.
Barr, who conducted the interview, told New Idea that she “jumped at the chance” to sit down with Folbigg given that she “thought it was a fascinating story”.
“It’s a different kind of journalism compared to what we do on Sunrise – you think about the story night and day for quite a few weeks and months,” she explained.
“I haven’t really done long-form interviews like this very much … but I loved it.”
Barr later revealed that she “was surprised” by Folbigg’s strength and “her lack of bitterness” despite all that she has gone through.