Woman charged with murder over suspected mushroom poisoning deaths in Australia

Erin Patterson remanded in custody to appear in court on Friday

A woman suspected of serving poisonous mushrooms to guests at a lunch that left three people dead and a fourth fighting for his life has been charged with murder.

Erin Patterson was on Thursday accused of murdering Gail and Don Patterson, both 70, and her sister, Heather Wilkinson (66) at lunch in her home in the rural Australian town of Leongatha on July 29th. Gail and Don Patterson were the parents of Erin Patterson’s ex-husband, Simon. He had been invited to attend the meal but was unable to make it at the last minute, according to the BBC.

As well as the three murder charges, Ms Patterson was also charged with five counts of attempted murder.

Gail and Don Patterson and Ms Wilkinson died in hospital after eating beef wellington at the lunch. Heather’s husband, Ian Wilkinson, is recovering after spending almost two months in hospital receiving treatment.


Ms Patterson has been remanded in custody to appear at Morwell magistrates court on Friday.

Australia mushroom poisoning: how a family lunch ended in tragedy

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Police say the murder charges and two attempted murder charges relate to an incident in which four people were taken to hospital after they fell ill following a meal at a private residence in south-east Victoria.

The further three attempted murder charges relate to three separate incidents in Victoria between 2021 and 2022. Police will allege a 48-year-old Korumburra man became ill after meals on these dates.

Ms Patterson has previously said she was “devastated to think that these mushrooms may have contributed to the illness suffered by my loved ones”, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. She said she had “no reason to hurt these people, whom I loved”. She confirmed the meal in question was a beef wellington pie.

On Thursday morning, Victoria police said homicide squad detectives had arrested Ms Patterson.

Det Insp Dean Thomas said the investigation had been incredibly complex. “Over the last three months, this investigation has been subjected to incredibly intense levels of public scrutiny and curiosity. I cannot think of another investigation that has generated this level of media and public interest, not only here in Victoria but also nationally and internationally,” he said.

“I think it is particularly important that we keep in mind that at the heart of this, three people have lost their lives. These are three people who by all accounts were much beloved in their communities and are greatly missed by their loved ones.” – Guardian