EXCLUSIVE: Kathleen Folbigg’s friends reveal what she will do next

"Our fight is not over yet."
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For years, Kathleen Folbigg kept a photograph on her jail cell wall at Clarence Correctional Centre. 

The picture was of a farm in Grafton, rural NSW. It’s home to a small army of rescue animals and, where Kathleen’s best friend and long-time supporter, Tracy Chapman, lives.

It’s also now the property Kathleen, ‘Kath’ to her friends, calls home after she was released from prison and pardoned on June 5.

WATCH NOW: Scientist shares new evidence that could share Kathleen Folbigg. Article continues after video. 

Convicted of murdering three of her children, Laura, Patrick, and Sarah, along with the manslaughter of her first child, Caleb, she served 20 years of a 25-year sentence.

That was, until last week when NSW attorney-general Michael Daley announced an unconditional pardon had been granted following new scientific findings. 

RELATED || Convicted child killer Kathleen Folbigg says she is innocent 

Daley announced that Kathleen, 56, and her daughters Laura and Sarah carried a rare genetic variant, known as CALM2-G114R, which cast doubt on her convictions.

There were emotional scenes as Kathleen and Tracy reunited. (Credit: Channel Nine)

The effect of a pardon means Kathleen will not have to serve the rest of her sentence but her lawyers won’t stop there. 

They are now looking into the next steps to clear the still-grieving mother’s name of murder charges, and pursuing compensation.

It’s believed she could claim millions in damages.

But before all that, Kathleen is excited about some simple pleasures; things she’s not experienced during her 20-year incarceration.

“I told her the other day I’d been so busy I’d spent the day in my PJs, and she asked if we could have a day like that too,” Tracy adds. 

“In 20 years, she’s never been able to have a PJ day.”

kathleen folbigg
Kathleen Folbigg is “excited” for the things she missed. (Credit: Channel Nine)

Tracy, who’s been there for her childhood friend over the last 20 years, was moved to tears at the news of her release, before an emotional reunion upon Kathleen’s arrival to the farm. 

“She’s been through so much trauma and suffered her whole life. She’s never even been able to properly grieve for her babies. It’s going to take years of work, not just five minutes,” Tracy, 55, tells New Idea exclusively.

“She’s going to need a huge amount of support.”

Close friend of Kathleen, Karren Hall, was among the women who rushed to visit her at Tracy’s farm last week. 

Ahead of the trip, she told New Idea: “I am ecstatic. I’ve finally stopped crying and I am starting to wind down. I am disappointed it has taken so long but absolutely so happy it’s happened at last. We have been working on this for such a long time.” 

“We will be celebrating.”

Tracy has long maintained her friends innocence. (Credit: Channel Nine)

After decades behind bars, there are hundreds of practicalities to take care of too; things like getting a driver’s license. 

“She has to lay the foundations for a new life,” Tracy says. 

And once she’s settled, Kathleen and her team have their sights set on something bigger. 

“We want to make sure the system is looking at other cases. There are other people wrongfully in jail and we will fight for a Criminal Cases Review Commission, where cases are looked at impartially. The UK has one, New Zealand has one; it’s something we see as incredibly important here in Australia,” Tracy says.

But for now, it’s a case of putting one foot in front of the other and getting through what the coming weeks have in store. 

“Kath will hold her head up high and say, “I told you I didn’t do this,” Tracy says. 

“Finally she’s been vindicated.”

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