Host of 'poisoned' mushroom lunch that left three dead charged with murder

Erin Patterson, 49, was charged on Thursday by Victoria state police, after hosting a lunch for family members of her former husband in July.

An Australian woman has been charged with murder by police after hosting a lunch gathering that left three guests dead from suspected mushroom poisoning and a fourth fighting for their life.

Erin Patterson, 49, was charged by Victoria state police on Thursday with three counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder.

She has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Earlier in the day, Ms Paterson was arrested, while police carried out a search of her home in Leongatha.

A police officer and dog search the property of Erin Patterson in Leongatha, Australia. / Credit: AP

The parents of Ms Patterson’s former husband, Gail and Don Patterson, both 70, and Gail Patterson’s sister, Heather Wilkinson, 66, all died after a lunch on July 29.

Ms Wilkinson’s husband, Ian Wilkinson, 68, attended the gathering, but survived. He is now recovering at home after leaving hospital in September, police said.

The estranged husband of Ms Patterson had also been due to attend the gathering, but pulled out.

The murder charges and two of the attempted murder charges relate to the July 29 lunch.

While the further three attempted murder charges relate to three separate incidents in Victoria between 2021 and 2022.

Ian Wilkinson (second from left) was the only survivor of a lunch which killed his wife Heather (left) and Don and Gail Patterson (right) / Credit: 7News

“It’s alleged a 48-year-old Korumburra man became ill following meals on these dates,” Victoria Police said.

Police have previously said the symptoms the four diners suffered were consistent with poisoning by wild death cap mushrooms.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that Ms Patterson had written in a statement that she had cooked a Beef Wellington steak dish for the lunch, using mushrooms bought from a major supermarket chain and dried mushrooms from an Asian grocery store.

She wrote that she had also eaten the meal and later suffered stomach pains and diarrhea.

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