Notorious child serial killer appeals 'toaster' bashing charge
CHILD serial killer Kathleen Folbigg lashed out at another female inmate who was "ranting and raving about her crimes" and who she feared might incite other prisoners against her, a court has heard.
The 50-year-old quadruple child killer appeared via audio visual link from prison on Wednesday to appeal a four month sentence for assaulting an inmate over an argument about a toaster.
Wearing a prison green T-shirt, Folbigg looked up brightly and smiled, her hair short in dark greying curls and wearing dark eye make-up.
Evidence during the court hearing said that Folbigg, who is serving a maximum 30 years for killing her four infant children between 1989 and 1999, is a model prisoner.
The court heard she has also become something of a den mother for other female inmates.
Folbigg went to Wednesday's court appeal with a character reference from another female baby killer, Margaret Jalaty.
The letter from Jalaty, written in May, was one of two late references tendered during the appeal hearing.
The court heard that "Folbigg has been of significant assistance to" Jalaty and another female inmate in prison.
In 2004, Jalaty was charged with murdering her four-year-old daughter Alia, who died from a methadone overdose.
Jalaty is serving a maximum 20 year sentence for murder.
ARGUMENT OVER A TOASTER
During the April 21 argument over a toaster, Folbigg swore at a fellow inmate, punched her and was herself punched in the ear.
Folbigg spoke in a loud clear and direct voice as she answered questions, although she blinked rapidly and looked down at her lap as details of the assault were read out in court.
She was appearing via video from Cessnock prison where she has been transferred to following the assault against maximum security protection inmate Tara Mammen in April in Silverwater Women's prison.
On Wednesday, District Court Judge Tanya Bright heard the appeal by Folbigg against the severity of a four month sentence imposed for the assault.
Defence barrister Isabel Reed, for Folbigg, said she was "genuinely embarrassed and remorseful" about p
unching Mammen in the stomach and was "very surprised it had connected".
She said Folbigg "snapped" after being taunted by fellow inmates.
"She snapped and reacted inappropriately.
"It's a reaction to being the subject of taunts by this fellow inmate.
"Her immediate reaction was shock, horror and embarrassment."
So shocked was Folbigg that her punch had landed on Mammen's stomach, Ms Reed said she asked to see the CCTV footage of the incident.
The court heard that at 8.40am in the Silverwater women's protection wing on April 21 this year, inmate Mammen had emerged from her cell after the prison muster carrying a toaster.
Toasters are forbidden to be taken into cells because of the fire risk.
Folbigg said "You're not allowed to take the f***ing toaster in the room".
Mammen said: "Well I don't know that, don't tell me what to do ... what are you going to do about it?".
Whereupon, Folbigg punched her in the stomach and Mammen punched her back, clipping Folbigg's ear.
Mammen then said, "we all know why you are in here".
Judge Bright said she accepted that Folbigg had an "exemplary record" since her incarceration in 2003, but that she had a very long way to go until her maximum sentence expired in 2033.
Refusing Folbigg's application for a Section 10 bond, Judge Bright said the offence "was at the lower end but it occurred in a custodial environment and any assault in custody has the potential to escalate and destabilise the whole environment".
Folbigg's lawyer said the assault had occurred while her client was under stress.
A petition for a review of Folbigg's case to the NSW Governor is currently before the NSW Attorney-General, filed by supporters who believe she was wrongly convicted of killing her children.
Among five references tendered to the court were two from women inmates at Silverwater Women's Prison who said Folbigg had significantly supported them during their incarceration.
According to court documents, Folbigg was remorseful when shown CCTV footage of the fight.
She is 14 years into her 25-year minimum jail term, with an earliest possible release date of 2028.
Kathleen Megan Folbigg was originally sentenced to 40 years for the murder of her children Patrick, Sarah and Laura and for the manslaughter of Caleb between 1989 and 1999.
The sentence was reduced on appeal to a maximum of 30 years.
Folbigg and her then husband Craig Folbigg's first child, Caleb, died at the age of 20 days old in 1989.
The death was followed by those of Patrick, aged eight months in October 1990, Sarah Kathleen aged ten months in August 1993 and 18-month-old Laura Elizabeth in March 1999.
The murders were only discovered when her husband found her diary that described the deaths.
The evidence against her, which was circumstantial, relied on harrowing diary entries including the fact she had written "I am my father's daughter".
Folbigg's own father murdered her mother when she was a child.
Her trial heard that she smothered her children because she couldn't cope with the stress of raising them.
Folbigg has always maintained her innocence and questions hang over her conviction, which Folbigg's supporters say was based on flawed scientific evidence and inconclusive medical records.
After Judge Bright's dismissal of the appeal today, Folbigg pursed her lips briefly, bowed her head but said in a strong clear voice, "Thanks Your Honour".