Canadian ‘Black Widow’ aged 78 jailed for poisoning her newlywed husband


A 78-year-old Canadian woman dubbed the “Black Widow” was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for drugging her newlywed husband.

Melissa Ann Shepard was charged last year after Fred Weeks fell ill during the couple’s honeymoon.

The court heard that Shepard slipped tranquillisers into her 76-year-old husband’s coffee. He was taken to hospital but survived. Shepard had been convicted of manslaughter in 1992 after the death of her second husband, Gordon Stewart, whom she drugged and ran over twice with a car.

In 2005, Shepard – who has gone by several other surnames – was sentenced to five years in prison on seven counts for theft from a man in Florida who she had met online.

Alex Strategos, now 81, said she stole $20,000 (£12,600) from him over the month that they lived together.

In his ruling on Tuesday, Judge Joseph Kennedy agreed with the prosecution’s argument for a 3.5-year prison term, less time served, saying Shepard’s criminal past was relevant

Her lawyer argued for a two-year jail term, saying Shepard feels remorseful.

She declined to address the court.

Shepard married Weeks in a civil ceremony on 25 September, a few weeks after they met.

But their marriage was later declared invalid by the local authorities after they said that false information had been supplied on the marriage certificate.