Australia’s Mushroom Murder Mystery: Woman Accused of Serving Fatal Lunch To In-Laws Pleads Not Guilty

Australia’s Mushroom Murder Mystery: Woman Accused of Serving Fatal Lunch To In-Laws Pleads Not Guilty
Australia’s Mushroom Murder Mystery: Woman Accused of Serving Fatal Lunch To In-Laws Pleads Not Guilty

Australian Erin Patterson who allegedly murdered three people by serving them a poisonous mushroom lunch pleaded not guilty to murder. The case has garnered international attention and captured the attention of Australians as well.

The 49-year-old is facing three murder charges and two counts of attempted murder. She is accused of serving a fatal beef Wellington meal in July 2023 that killed her parents-in-law and another guest.

Cops in the Australian province of Victoria who are probing the case have also alleged that she tried to kill her estranged husband on three other occasions. She continues to maintain her innocence.

She says that she did not intentionally poison her guests. “Not guilty your honor,” she said, appearing at the court proceedings via a video link.

The Latrobe Valley Magistrates Court told Patterson to formally enter pleas to the charges against her.

Court officials said the case would now be fast-tracked for trial at the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Patterson allegedly served the beef Wellington to her estranged parents-in-law Don and Gail Patterson, both 70, as well as local Baptist pastor Ian Wilkinson, 69, and his wife Heather Wilkinson, 66.

Three of the lunch guests — Don and Gail Patterson, and Heather Wilkinson — died in the days following the meal.

Ian Wilkinson recovered after spending nearly two months in hospital.

Police suggested that the meal she served included lethal death cap mushrooms.

Death cap mushrooms, scientifically Amanita phalloides, are highly toxic fungi responsible for severe poisonings and fatalities worldwide due to their potent amatoxins, causing liver and kidney failure.

Despite their deadly nature, death cap mushrooms can be mistaken for edible mushrooms, leading to accidental poisonings.

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Detectives mentioned that Simon Patterson, the husband, fell ill after eating meals prepared by his estranged wife on four occasions in 2021 and 2022. Erin Patterson is also being charged with attempting to murder him.

When police started probing the case, Erin told them that she didn’t know that the mushrooms were poisonous. “I am now devastated to think that these mushrooms may have contributed to the illness suffered by my loved ones,” the 48-year old said.

Shankhyaneel Sarkar

Shankhyaneel Sarkar is a senior deputy editor at News18. He covers international aff

Location: Melbourne, Australia

first published: May 07, 2024, 12:58 IST

 
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