Erin Patterson charged with three counts of murder over mushroom poisoning

Nov 03, 2023
Erin Patterson has now been formally charged with the alleged mushroom poisoning incident. Source: Getty Images

Erin Patterson, the Leongatha woman accused of poisoning her former parents in law and their friends, has now officially been charged with multiple counts of murder by police over three deaths.

After a months long investigation by police, Ms Patterson was arrested yesterday morning at 8am. Following an extensive search of her home, she was then taken to Wonthaggi Police Station for questioning.

Yesterday evening, the police confirmed that Ms Patterson had been charged with three counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder.

The three counts of murder and two counts attempted murder relate to the incident at Ms Patterson’s home on the 29th of July where four people were hospitalised after lunch, three of which later died.

Gail and Don Patterson (both aged 70), the parents of Ms Patterson’s estranged husband Simon Patterson and the grandparents of Ms Patterson’s children, died in hospital in early August.

Gail Patterson’s sister, Heather Wilkinson (aged 66), also died after attending the lunch. Heather’s husband Ian Wilkinson was critically ill for several months afterwards but has since recovered.

Police will allege that Ms Patterson poisoned the three deceased victims and the surviving victim with what is believed to be death cap mushrooms, that were served as part of the beef wellington for lunch.

The alleged manner of poisoning led many people to compare the event to a crime novel and resulted in some of the media dubbing Ms Patterson the “mushroom killer” before any charges were even laid.

The three other attempted murder charges related to separate incidents in Victoria between 2021 and 2022.

In those incidents, a 48-year-old Korumburra man who is understood to be Simon Patterson, became ill following meals. Mr Patterson spent several weeks  in hospital last year due to mysterious gastrointestinal issues.

There have previously been unconfirmed reports about Simon Patterson’s bout of ill health and there was significant speculation that he may have been poisoned in a similar manner to his late parents.

Detective Inspector Dean Thomas, from the homicide squad, urged the public to not inflame the already significant conjecture surrounding the case.

“Today’s charges are just the next step in what has been an incredibly complex, methodical and thorough investigation by homicide squad detectives. I know that people will no doubt have many unanswered questions about this matter. However, I urge people to be especially mindful of unnecessary speculation and not sharing misinformation,” he said.

More to come.

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