01:55 GMT16 July 2020
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    Melissa Ann Shepard, an 80-year-old Canadian woman with a bad habit of poisoning and killing her lovers, was arrested less than one month after her release from prison, for breaching conditions of her peace bond.

    The notorious "Internet Black Widow" was taken into custody on Monday after an officer recognized her in the Halifax Central Library.

    "A community officer patrols Spring Garden Road," a police spokesperson said. "He simply was doing a walk-through of the Halifax Public Library when he happened to observe a woman whom he recognized… accessing the Internet on a computer."

    Shepard was released from prison on March 18, after having served a full sentence for putting sedatives in her newlywed husband's coffee in 2012 (the husband, Fred Weeks, survived after falling ill during a trip to Newfoundland.)

    She was released under 22 conditions, including a ban on using the Internet and the recognizance to report each time she gets romantically linked with someone so that the suitor is informed of her criminal history.

    Police found that Shepard had a cellphone with Internet access. Apart from that, she is charged with breaching a condition that she keep the peace and display good behavior.

    The elderly woman was released on a further condition that she doesn't go within 25 meters of any library in the Halifax area. She is to appear in local court on May 24 to answer to the charges and could be put behind bars again if found to be in breach any of her release conditions.

    The history of Shepard's offenses dates back to the early 1990s, police said. She changed her appearance and names multiple times and was convicted of numerous crimes ranging from theft to manslaughter.

    Previous last names include that of her former husband Robert Edmund Friedrich, who died in 2002, and of another husband, Gordon Stewart, whom she drugged and repeatedly ran over with a car.

    Along with Shepard's release in March Halifax police issued a warning stating that she is considered a high risk to reoffend. One of the woman's victims, Alex Strategos — she stole $20,000 from him and drugged his ice cream — also warned men to "watch out."


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    poisoning, manslaughter, Black Widow, Melissa Ann Shepard, Canada
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