NewsNational NewsScripps News


Woman charged for poisoning ex-husband's family with mushrooms

Australian officials say toxicology reports suggest the victims consumed "death cap" mushrooms during a family lunch in July.
Woman charged for poisoning ex-husband's family with mushrooms
Posted at 12:38 PM, Nov 02, 2023

An Australian woman has been charged with murder for allegedly using poisonous mushrooms to kill her ex-husband's family at a family lunch in July.

Erin Patterson, 49, hosted her ex-husband's parents and her former mother-in-law's sister and husband for lunch and served beef Wellington, which contained mushrooms.

A few days later, Gail Patterson, 70, and Heather Wilkinson, 66, died in the hospital, followed by Gail's husband, Don, who was 70. The fourth guest, Ian Wilkinson, a 68-year-old reverend, was also hospitalized but survived.

Toxicology reports suggest the victims consumed "death cap" mushrooms.

After a monthslong investigation into the July deaths, police arrested Patterson at her residence in the small town of Leongatha on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

She was charged with three counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder on Thursday. Three of the attempted murder counts are related to her ex-husband, Simon Patterson, 48, who fell ill after eating three meals in 2021 and 2022 but did not attend the July lunch, the AP reported.

Patterson has denied any wrongdoing, saying she’s “devastated. I loved them. I can’t believe that this has happened. And I’m so sorry.”

In Victoria, where the town is located,  the maximum prison sentence for murder is 25 years.

Trending stories at