Cops: Famed Botanist Killed by Own Daughter

But suspect's lawyer says Australia's Mary White, 92, 'had no enjoyment of life'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2018 11:55 AM CDT
Cops: Famed Botanist Killed by Own Daughter
Mary White made her name in botany.   (Getty/pernsanitfoto)

An environmental scientist bestowed the Order of Australia was killed by her own daughter in the aged-care facility where she lived with dementia, according to police. Mary White was found dead in her room at the Warrigal aged-care home in Bundanoon, New South Wales, on Sunday. Police now allege her daughter, Barbara Eckersley, killed the 92-year-old with an overdose of medication during a 4.5-hour span that evening, per ABC Australia and the Guardian. Charged with murder, Eckerlsey, 66 or 67, is reportedly cooperating with investigators. During a Friday court appearance, her lawyer said White had "been in constant discomfort or pain and had no enjoyment of life."

White previously lived with Eckerlsey but moved in 2016 after suffering a second stroke, per ABC. Eckerlsey's lawyer says family members visited White at least once a day but were concerned about her treatment and believed officials "weren't able to deal with Dr White's agitation and pain." He adds the defense will attempt to downgrade the murder charge to manslaughter, citing Eckerlsey's "underlying psychiatric and psychological issues or problems related to stress associated with her mother." Born in a British colony in Africa, White moved in 1955 to Australia, where she established a Gondwana rainforest sanctuary and in 2009 received the Order of Australia "for service to botany." (More murder stories.)

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