Queensland mother allegedly poisons two disabled children

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A gavel is seen in a hearing room in Panama City April 7, 2016. court judge hammer
A gavel is seen in a hearing room in Panama City April 7, 2016. Reuters/Carlos Jasso

A Queensland mother has been accused of poisoning her two disabled children. The 51-year-old woman was arrested in the Brisbane suburb of Coorparoo on Wednesday after detectives received new information that raised suspicions over the children’s deaths.

Police alleged that Maree Crabtree was poisoning her 26-year-old son and 18-year-old daughter, who were said to have had severe disabilities. They passed away five years apart. The teenage girl died on September 4, 2012. Her body was allegedly found at a Plantation Crescent home in Maudsland.

The girl’s brother was allegedly found dead at a Fig Court, Upper Coomera address five years later on July 18, 2017. The deaths were initially treated as suicides.

Crabtree has been charged with two counts of murder, one count each of grievous bodily harm and torture. She is reportedly facing other charges, which are two counts each of fraud and attempted fraud and one count of robbery while armed.

“Detectives from the Gold Coast Criminal Investigation Branch with assistance from the Homicide Investigation Unit have charged a woman in connection to the suspected suspicious deaths of an 18-year-old woman and 26-year-old man,” Queensland Police said in a statement on Wednesday. The woman, believed to hail from the Gold Coast suburb of Maudsland, is expected to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court.

Following her arrest, Crabtree was taken to the Brisbane watchhouse where an interview was expected to take place. Further information about the case is expected to be provided by the police at a press conference.

Detective Inspector Thompson said the enquiry has been complex as the alleged incidents happened across the country. He said they are appealing to anyone who may have information that could help with the investigation.

“Any piece of information, no matter how small can have a significant impact on our investigation,” Thompson said. He also encouraged anyone who had concerns about abuse or exploitation of vulnerable people to contact the police, assuring dedication to supporting vulnerable persons in the community.

Those who have any information can contact Policelink on 131 444. Information can also be provided using the online form available at the Queensland Police site.

The Queensland Police Service and Police link offer online forms for non-urgent crimes or incidents. Anyone may report information to Crime Stoppers, a community volunteer organisation and a registered charity, by dialling 1800 333 000.