Police charge Erin Patterson with murder over deadly mushroom lunch in Australia

The woman who cooked a mushroom lunch suspected of killing three people in Victoria’s east has been charged with murder.

Erin Patterson was arrested and charged with murder on 2 November 2023. Photo: Screenshot / ABC

Erin Patterson, 49, was arrested Thursday morning and interviewed by police as investigators searched her home.

Police confirmed on Thursday evening she had been charged with three counts of murder and five of attempted murder.

She has been remanded in custody and will appear at the Morwell Magistrates’ Court on Friday morning.

Police said the murder charges, and two attempted murder charges related to an incident on July 29 when Ms Patterson hosted a lunch at her Leongatha home.

Four people fell ill following the lunch.

Gail and Don Patterson, the parents of Patterson’s ex-husband, died in hospital in August.

Gail Patterson’s sister, Heather Wilkinson, also died after attending the lunch. Heather’s husband Ian Wilkinson was critically ill but recovered.

Police said the three other attempted murder charges related to separate incidents in Victoria between 2021 and 2022, where a 48-year-old Korumburra man became ill following other meals.

After Patterson was arrested, police spent hours scouring her Leongatha property with sniffer dogs in tow.

Detectives were observed seizing and bagging up items at the scene.

Late in the day, the 49-year-old was escorted in a police vehicle from her home to the Wonthaggi Police Station, where she was brought in for questioning.

On Thursday, police made reference to the intense interest in the events both nationally and across the world.

The homicide squad’s Inspector Dean Thomas urged people to remember that at the heart of the case were three people who had 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,” he said.

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