Woman pleads not guilty to murdering three people with toxic mushrooms in beef Wellington lunch


A woman has pleaded not guilty to the murder of three people who died after allegedly consuming a lunch she prepared which contained poisonous mushrooms.

Erin Patterson, 49, is charged with three counts of murder and five of attempted murder over the beef Wellington meal in July last year.

Don Patterson and his wife Gail, both 70, and her sister Heather Wilkinson, 66, fell ill and later died in hospital after the lunch at Erin Patterson’s home in Leongatha, Victoria.

Simon Patterson, the defendant’s ex-husband, is listed in court documents as the alleged victim in four of the counts of attempted murder – including three separate incidents in 2021 and 2022.

He had not accepted an invitation to the lunch.

A fifth count relates to Mrs Wilkinson’s husband Ian, a pastor at a nearby town who spent weeks in hospital following the lunch.

Ms Patterson has maintained her innocence.

Detectives are seen searching Erin Patterson's property in November last year. Pic: AP
Detectives are seen searching Erin Patterson’s property in November last year. Pic: AP

Police said at the time that the symptoms of all four who became ill were consistent with poisoning from wild Amanita phalloides – better known as death cap mushrooms – which are responsible for 90% of all toxic mushroom-related fatalities.

The case has gripped Australia, where deaths from eating mushrooms are relatively rare.

The Supreme Court is expected to next hear Patterson’s case on 23 May.


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