Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Her Father's Daughter - The Kathleen Folbigg Story

My Father's Daughter

On a December evening in 1969, Thomas John Britton confronted Kathleen Mary Donavan outside her home in the Sydney suburb of Annandale and stabbed her 24 times.

They had been living in a de facto relationship, and had an 18-month-old daughter.

At the trial six months later, a woman who witnessed the murder gave evidence against Britton. She testified that after brutally murdering Donavan, Britton had knelt down and kissed her saying: I'm sorry, darling. I had to do it. Allegedly he then turned to the witness and said, I had to kill her because she'd kill my child.

Britton was convicted of murder and sent to prison. The child was sent to a church orphanage. Twelve years later, Britton was released and deported to the United Kingdom.

The little girl stayed in the orphanage until she was three. At that time Kathleen Megan Marlbourough was adopted by a foster family who lived in the Newcastle suburb of Kotara.

Kathleen was an adult before she met her half sisters and learned the truth about her parents.

On October 14, 1996, with three of her children already dead, Kathleen made a disturbing diary entry that indicated how the tumultuous events of her childhood had affected her: Obviously I am my fathers daughter. It was to be her undoing.

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