Kathleen Folbigg: No amount of compensation will be enough

There a few hurdles before pardoned Kathleen Folbigg is entitled to any government compensation, but will any amount make up for her 20 years of hell?


What price can be put on being publicly vilified, loathed, spending a huge chunk of your life behind bars and most devastatingly, dealing with the deaths of your four young children? I'd say no price. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that could ever take the place of losing 20 years of your life in prison, along with losing your babies.

Convicted child killer Kathleen Folbigg – who was pardoned and released from a Grafton jail on Monday over the deaths of her four children – "laughed, drank Kahlua, ate pizza and was mesmerised by technology" in her first night of freedom, according to reports.

Kathleen Folbigg in a video after being released from prison.
Kathleen Folbigg released a video saying she is "extremely humbled" and "extremely grateful" for being pardoned, in her first statement since being set free. Source: Supplied

Eating with real crockery, sleeping in a real bed, watching streaming TV – things most of us take for granted – were finally given back to the woman previously known as Australia's worst female serial killer. But those small luxuries will barely scratch the surface of compensating what she has lost.

Folbigg, 55, has always maintained her innocence, so where does the state even start in trying to compensate her? As Lindy Chamberlain's lawyer Stuart Tipple stated, Folbigg first needs to be declared not guilty to be given compensation for her years in prison. And that could be years away from happening — can you imagine the snail's pace of that case in the legal system?

Millions on the table

If her convictions are ultimately overturned, recompense will be a large sum of cash – anything from $2 million to $20 million is being touted – and while very nice, it will in no way make up for the indignity of being constantly denigrated, reviled and hated for doing something that an impressively large posse from the medical science fraternity claim she likely didn't do.

Kathleen Folbigg
Kathleen Folbigg went from being the most hated woman in Australia to a state pardon, and that is something she'll have to live with for the rest of her life. Source: Getty

I don't know about you, but I've really admired those lifelong friends, especially Tracy Chapman (who is now Folbigg's next of kin) who stood by her every single step of the way. That is unconditional love and true friendship. Folbigg's advocates will now focus on getting convictions quashed when an inquiry into her case reports in coming weeks but until then, Folbigg deserves to enjoy her freedom.

Enough is enough

Nothing will bring back Folbigg's children and some people will still blame her for their deaths. And no amount of money will make her instantly "happy". But let's hope she can be left alone, staying with the friends who have stood by her through the entire tragic saga.

Yes, that is probably wishful thinking, but Folbigg has been through enough. She doesn't need to spend the rest of her days in that same undignified hellhole. "There's no hate in her heart," Chapman said. "She just wants to live her life."

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