For more than a decade John Folbigg has respected his family’s wish for a ‘‘cone of silence’’ about his sister-in-law Kathleen Folbigg killing four babies.
But, with his brother Craig Folbigg’s consent, he is breaking that silence after prominent Newcastle woman Helen Cummings told Fairfax Regional Media she believed Kathleen Folbigg was innocent after a year visiting her in jail.
Ms Cummings is leading a campaign to have Folbigg’s case reviewed, and has written to NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith to say she has ‘‘no doubt at all about her innocence’’.
The suggestion of innocence astounds and angers John Folbigg, who said Ms Cummings ‘‘clearly didn’t live the life we lived, and didn’t see what we saw’’.
The word ‘‘innocent’’ was ‘‘offensive to the family’’, he said after talking with Craig Folbigg and other family members on the weekend.
‘‘What does she know, to come to a decision like that, that we don’t know?’’ he said. ‘‘The thing I know, because I was there for all that time, is there’s absolutely no doubt she should be in jail.
‘‘To come to the conclusion she’s innocent just by talking to her?
‘‘What I’m asking is how did she determine she’s innocent, apart from talking with Kathleen?
‘‘Has she read the transcript of the trial? Has she read the diaries?’’ he said, referring to the diaries kept by Folbigg which were a significant factor in her being found guilty.
‘‘That’s a big step on her behalf. When I make a decision I don’t do so until I’ve got all the information, and that’s all Craig and I are saying.
‘‘How can anybody say she’s innocent?’’
Mr Folbigg said Craig Folbigg, his youngest brother, did not want to say anything publicly about the campaign for a review of Folbigg’s case, or the opinion of forensic science legal expert Gary Edmond that her convictions were tainted by unreliable, misleading and outdated medical evidence.
‘‘Craig’s not going to put himself out there. He’s moved on. He’s got a life,’’ John Folbigg said.
His new life includes a wife and seven-year-old son.
‘‘With what he already relives on a day by day basis, he doesn’t need to go out there and start jumping up and down about what people are saying.
‘‘When I spoke with Craig after that story appeared in the paper, he told me not to get upset, and I’m trying not to.’’
Craig Folbigg had consented to his brother making it clear the Folbigg family, including Craig, did not support a review.
‘‘Where Craig stands is that nothing was wrong with the trial or what happened in the first place.
‘‘It gave the family answers and the chance to move on.’’
John Folbigg said he did not support a review, but the family respected legal process and would accept a review if the need for one was established.
‘‘If people want to go out there and say the trial was wrong, that’s fine, as long as they leave an avenue to have a trial again, because she’s not innocent.
‘‘Everyone deserves a fair trial. We would hate to think anyone is locked up for something they didn’t do, so if it’s been wrongly done, OK, undo it, and do it again properly.
‘‘If that’s the legal system, so be it, but as far as I’m concerned, don’t waste taxpayers’ money.
‘‘Laura [the fourth Folbigg baby to die] lived 18 months as a healthy baby. An hour before she died she was running around in Craig’s office in Singleton.
‘‘He waved Kathy and Laura goodbye, and an hour later he’s getting calls.
‘‘If people say she’s innocent, we need them to show us what happened to those babies.’’