Erin Patterson, a 49-year-old woman from Leongatha, Australia, has been charged with three counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder, all related to the poisoning deaths caused by death cap mushrooms in Australia. This case has garnered international headlines.
She faces three murder charges for allegedly serving poisonous mushrooms at a luncheon she hosted. Her arrest was announced by Detective Inspector Dean Thomas of the Victoria State Police on Thursday morning.
The victims include Patterson's former mother-in-law, 70-year-old Gail Patterson; Gail's sister, 66-year-old Heather Wilkinson; and Gail's husband, 70-year-old Don, who passed away at Melbourne Hospital days after the lunch. The fourth guest, Heather Wilkinson's husband, Ian Wilkinson, aged 69, was hospitalized for a few weeks and was discharged on September 23, according to Victoria police.
Based on the investigation, Erin Patterson hosted a lunch where she served a beef Wellington meal on July 29 to her former parents-in-law and her mother-in-law's sister and spouse. Just days after the meal, three people died in the hospital, and her mother-in-law's sister's husband, Ian Wilkinson, recovered after a while. The news shocked the entire town. Police suspected Erin Patterson after she and her two children were unharmed after lunch.
Erin Patterson reasoned that the mushrooms used in the meal were bought from two different stores. She also said that she had no reason to hurt these people whom she loved and that she was now devastated, thinking that these mushrooms may have been the reason for the illness suffered by her loved ones.
Detective Inspector Dean Thomas of the Homicide Squad stated that in the last three months, this investigation has reached intense levels of public attention. I cannot think of another investigation that has created this level of media and public coverage, not only here but also nationally and internationally. And also says that these deaths and incidents have a marked effect on their families, whom they are beloved in their communities and missed by their loved ones, so people are conscious of this over the coming days.
The detective likewise stated the charges as the next step in a long investigation process.
(Input from various media sources.)