Australian woman who blamed Asian grocer for killer mushrooms charged


The woman who pointed at an Asian grocer as a source of toxic mushrooms that allegedly killed three and put one in critical condition in Victoria, Australia, has been arrested and charged with murder.

Catch up: Erin Patterson, 49, served beef wellington that contained the mushrooms for lunch in her home in Leongatha on July 29. Days later, her in-laws, Don and Gail Patterson, both 70, and Gail’s sister, Heather Wilkinson, 66, died. Meanwhile, Heather’s husband, Ian Wilkinson, ended up critically ill and spent two months at a hospital.

The four diners suffered symptoms consistent with wild death cap mushroom poisoning, according to police. In her statement in August, Patterson claimed that she combined button mushrooms from a major supermarket and dried, hand-labeled mushrooms from an Asian grocer she had purchased three months prior. She also reported having stomach pains and being hospitalized.

Charges: Patterson was charged with three counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder on Thursday. Two of the attempted murder charges stem from the same incident; her ex-husband, Simon Patterson, was also invited to the lunch but declined. Meanwhile, the other three attempted murder charges are reportedly linked to similar prior incidents involving Simon between 2021 and 2022.

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What’s next: Patterson in her statement maintained her innocence, saying she had “absolutely no reason to hurt these people, whom I loved.” She is expected to remain in custody until Friday, when she can apply to be released on bail.

Murder in the state of Victoria carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.


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