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‘Controlling’ killer mum, 82, planned son’s funeral a week before murder

An elderly woman who has admitted murdering her son also organised his funeral in the weeks before she struck and suffocated him in the home they shared, court documents reveal.

Erica Heddergott, 82, appeared before Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday and pleaded guilty to murdering her son William in November last year at their home in Greensborough. A summary prepared by investigators says she hit her 50-year-old son with an axe and put a plastic bag over his head.

Police investigate after William Heddergott’s body was found inside his home on November 16, 2020.

Police investigate after William Heddergott’s body was found inside his home on November 16, 2020.Credit:Nine News

A Meals on Wheels worker found a key in the door at the house on November 16 and discovered Mr Heddergott’s body and his mother on the floor, conscious and initially unable to speak. She had tried ending her life.

When the worker said an ambulance was on its way, the elderly woman replied: “I don’t want them.”

The worker also discovered a note titled “Farewell” and dated November 14, in which Heddergott thanked her husband for their lives together, and apologised for the sorrow he would feel. The husband was staying at a care facility, the summary says.

The note also read: “Time has run out and I apologise for all the loose ends and work I left.”

Police say William Heddergott had severe anxiety and depression and had previously lived at a supported residential facility, where staff described him as a gentle, caring man who never got angry. He had returned to live with his mother during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Police also wrote that Erica Heddergott was “highly controlling” of her son, limiting his “behaviours outside of the family home and reducing his independence”.

In the weeks before the murder, Erica Heddergott contacted a funeral home to finalise arrangements for her son’s funeral, although she had not paid for the service. In September and October of last year she also contacted her son’s superannuation firm in an attempt to cancel his policy and withdraw the funds.

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