Australian Woman Charged With Murder After Allegedly Serving Poisonous Mushrooms For Lunch
Two Death Caps - stock photo
Andy Tripp / 500px / Getty Images

An Australian woman has been charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder after allegedly serving poisonous mushrooms during a lunch with her former in-laws.

Erin Patterson, 49, served beef Wellington – which contains mushrooms – for lunch in July. Within days, three people died, with toxicology reports showing the victims had consumed death cap mushrooms, the BBC reported.

Patterson maintains her innocence, saying she did not intentionally poison her guests.

She has been charged with three counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder due to the lunch, as well as three additional counts of attempted murder for separate incidents between 2021 and 2022.

“Over the last three months, this investigation has been subjected to incredibly intense levels of public scrutiny and curiosity,” Victoria Detective Inspector Dean Thomas said in a statement. “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.”

“Today’s charges are just the next step in what has been an incredibly complex, methodical and thorough investigation by Homicide Squad detectives,” Thomas added. “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.”

Police suspected Erin because neither she nor her two children became ill after the lunch.

Among those who died in July were Don and Gail Patterson, the parents of Erin’s ex-husband Simon, who was supposed to attend the deadly lunch but backed out at the last minute. At least one guest who attended the July lunch became critically ill but survived.


Erin’s former mother-in-law Gail, 70, her husband Don, 70, and Gail’s sister Heather Wilkinson, 66, all died days after attending the lunch.

“I am now devastated to think that these mushrooms may have contributed to the illness suffered by my loved ones. I really want to repeat that I had absolutely no reason to hurt these people whom I loved,” Erin said in a statement to police, according to Australian broadcaster ABC.

Erin also said in that statement that she had purchased the mushrooms from two different stores.

Police also charged Erin with three counts of attempted murder for incidents occurring between 2021 and 2022. A 48-year-old man became ill after eating a meal with Erin on these dates. Police did not provide further details.

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