Brittany Murphy's mother: 'Poisoning claims a smear'

Sharon Murphy has rebutted claims by Brittany Murphy's father that their daughter was murdered in 2009 as 'inexcusable' and an 'insult'

Brittany Murphy's mother has rubbished suggestions her daughter may have been poisoned, and accused Murphy's biological father of planning to exploit the late actor's death for his own personal gain.

In a highly-charged open letter published by the Hollywood Reporter, Sharon Murphy said she had decided to speak out publicly following widespread press coverage for claims by Angelo Bertolotti that the star of Clueless and Eight Mile may have been murdered. Bertolotti last week flagged up a new toxicology report he commissioned which suggested his daughter may have been "poisoned by a third party perpetrator with likely criminal intent", contrary to the official coroner's verdict.

Sharon Murphy said Bertolotti had never been a part of her daughter's life while she was alive, and described efforts to "smear" her daughter as "inexcusable".

"Angelo Bertolotti has relocated to California in his old age to claim he is here for Brittany, as he never was in life," she wrote. "He has made outrageous statements over the past few years, culminating in this latest madness: that my darling daughter was murdered. His claims are based on the most flimsy of evidence and are more of an insult than an insight into what really happened."

Bertolotti said last week that tabloids had unfairly labelled his daughter an anorexic and a junkie after the LA coroner found prescription drugs played a role in her death at the age of 32 in 2009. But Sharon Murphy said her former partner had used an website that farmed out the actual testing to a third party laboratory and then wrote "horribly untrue things under the guise of 'analysis'".

"It mentioned rat poison as a possible cause and claimed to be able to say that a third party murdered my beloved daughter," she wrote. "To even mention that the heavy metals that were listed in his test are in rat poison, leading to articles suggesting Brittany ingested that or anything like it, is absurd. If she had, don't you think it would have shown up in the coroner's test of her blood and tissue? A reputable expert will tell you that what this lab did is an ethical violation of the highest order; to even pretend to be able to draw such conclusions on unreliable evidence is the real crime."

Sharon Murphy revealed that Bertolotti had set up an organisation called the Brittany Murphy Foundation with a woman named Julia Davis, which she said was merely "calculated to make them money and bring them the fame they desperately crave". She added: "They say they want to do a documentary and write a book, and this whole stunt is merely publicity to fuel their aspirations.

"I am sorry to be so forthright in saying this, but the time has come to bring out into the open the lies Angelo and Davis have told now that Brittany can't defend herself. They did it simply to promote their interests, their book, Davis' documentary and career. The time has come for their false statements to be exposed and rebuked."

Sharon Murphy's comments echo those made by a prominent US toxicologist last week in the wake of Bertolotti's revelations. Bruce Goldberger, director of forensic medicine at the University of Florida and president of the American Board of Forensic Toxicology, said traces of heavy metals found in a sample of the late actor's hair could be explained by hair treatments. He also cast doubt on the legitimacy of poisoning claims by the Internet-based Carlson Company hired by Bertolotti, and said the organisation was wrong to suggest that Murphy might have been murdered. He described the Los Angeles coroner as a "thorough" lab that had done "good work" on the case.


Ben Child

The GuardianTramp

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