A beaming Kathleen Folbigg is enjoying her new life as a free woman after spending 20 years behind bars for the deaths of her four children.
Ms Follbigg was all smiles when she was first seen in public hugging friends in the historic NSW north coast village of Nana Glen on Saturday, with Sunrise presenter Natalie Barr also in her entourage.
The Seven Network is rumored to have paid significantly more than a reported $400,000 to secure the exclusive rights to interview Ms. Folbigg.
It appears Barr will direct the segment, though no camera crews were with the group when they stopped to chat on the village’s main street.
The interview with the 55-year-old will air sometime on 7News Spotlight after the network won an intense bidding war with its rivals, including Nine Network.
Nana Glen is a short drive from her best friend Tracy Chapman’s Glenreagh estate, where she has been staying since her release earlier this month.
Kathleen Folbigg was out on Saturday in the historic town of Nana Glen on the NSW north coast following her release from prison earlier this month
Sunrise host Natalie Barr and talent rep Nick Fordham were part of her entourage on Saturday
She hugged friends walking their dogs when they met near a cafe in the sleepy historic town
NSW Attorney General Michael Daley confirmed that Ms Folbigg would be released from prison after new scientific evidence cast ‘reasonable doubt’ about her case after first serving time in prison in 2003.
Folbigg was convicted of three counts of murder and one count of manslaughter after her babies Patrick, Sarah, Laura and Caleb died under suspicious circumstances between 1989 and 1999.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called the case “extraordinary”.
“This has been an extraordinary case where new evidence has led NSW Attorney General Michael Daley to step in and pardon Ms Folbigg,” Mr Albanese told the ABC’s 7.30.
“She has been in prison for about 20 years and Michael Daley has chosen to show mercy and intervene in this case.”
Ms Folbigg was released from a Grafton prison after new scientific evidence led to the NSW Attorney General pardoning her
Sunrise host Natalie Barr is seen with Ms Folbigg in Nana Glen – Channel 7 reportedly paid more than $400,000 to interview the former inmate
The former prisoner was convicted of killing her four babies, her convictions remain in effect
Ms Folbigg had been sentenced to 30 years in prison and was not eligible for parole until 2028, but had consistently maintained her innocence.
Her convictions have not been overturned. Her prison was pardoned because of “reasonable doubt” about the deaths of her children.
The decision came after an investigation – launched by Supreme Court Justice Tom Bathurst KC – found new evidence that the children died of natural causes.
Shortly after her release, it was revealed that Ms Folbigg would sit down with Channel Seven, with reports suggesting the price of the exclusive interview was $400,000.
There were no camera crews with the group when they stopped to chat on the main street of the village
She is staying on her friend Tracy Chapman’s property – a short drive from Nana Glen
Ms Folbigg is rumored to have paid much more than the previously reported $400,000 figure to tell her story in an exclusive interview with Channel Seven
Mrs Folbigg was convicted of the murder of her son Patrick (right), as well as the manslaughter of her first child Caleb (left)
Sources close to the negotiations have already told this The Age’s CBD column other networks backed off when Ms. Folbigg’s team reportedly set a $1.5 million fee for the interview, security costs, and some archived footage.
A spokesperson for Seven declined to comment or provide an official figure when Daily Mail Australia reached out.
Ms. Folbigg may also receive hefty compensation from the state government for her time behind bars.
In the wake of the pardon, which does not overturn her conviction but frees her from prison, attorney Rhanee Rego revealed that damages may be at stake.
“We haven’t spoken to her about this. She tries very hard to concentrate on taking one step at a time and not doing things in a hurry, because she has just been waiting to feel the grass at her feet, look at the sky and look at it for the first time in 20 years. watch the sunrise,” Ms. Rego said on June 6.
“Kathleen is still having a cup of tea, getting acquainted with normal life, and we’re just getting used to not talking to her in a prison about an AVL call.
‘We are taking it step by step, but in the near future we will certainly think about all the options available to her.
“We won’t rush her or force her to do anything. She doesn’t have to do it until she’s ready.’
Mrs Folbigg (pictured in 2005) was convicted of three counts of murder and one count of manslaughter in 2003 after her babies Patrick, Sarah, Laura and Caleb died in suspicious circumstances between 1989 and 1999.
Medical experts say there may have been a genetic mutation that caused the deaths of Sarah (left) and Laura Folbigg (right).
Ms Folbigg’s convictions must be overturned in the Court of Criminal Appeal before compensation options can be discussed.
Figures as low as $1 million to $20 million have already been speculated in the media.
“Not only has she lost one child, she has lost four and has been in prison for 20 years. The system has let her down every step of the way,” Ms Rego said.
“Instead of trying to understand why her children died, possibly through an inquest…we threw her in jail, locked her up and labeled her Australia’s worst female serial killer.”
Robyn Blewer, director of the Griffith University Innocence Project, pointed to two recent cases to indicate the extent to which Ms Folbigg could be compensated for her 7,300 days in prison.
Western Australian man Scott Austic was paid $1.3 million in May on top of a previous payment of $250,000 after serving nearly 13 years for the murder of his pregnant secret lover.
He had demanded $8.5 million after being acquitted on appeal in 2020.
Both payments were voluntary, while David Eastman was awarded $7 million in damages from the ACT Supreme Court in 2019 following his wrongful conviction for the murder of Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Colin Winchester.
Dr. Blewer said the amount Ms Folbigg received could depend on what the government was willing to pay.
“Twenty years is a significant amount of lost time,” she said.
“It may depend on the good graces of the NSW government.”