The Australian woman accused of murdering three guests with death cap mushrooms while serving them beef wellington during a lunch in July threw a party at her house the night before she was arrested.
According to neighbours, Erin Patterson hosted an event with trusted friends at her five-bedroom house last Wednesday night. She was then arrested and charged with three counts of murder and five of attempted murder.
Daily Mail reported that neighbours suggested Patterson knew she was going to be arrested the following day and decided to host a “freedom fling” party.
However, Channel 9 have reported the 49-year-old wasn’t aware it would likely be her last party and act of freedom.
The three murder charges and two of the attempted murder charges relate to that lunch, served on July 29 in the small town of Leongatha.
Don Patterson and Gail Patterson, Erin Patterson's former parents-in-law, died after a suspected mushroom poisoning.
Erin Patterson’s ex-in-laws Don and Gail Patterson, and Gail’s sister Heather Wilkinson, died after symptoms consistent with death cap mushroom poisoning.
Heather’s husband, Ian, who is a pastor, was released from hospital in September.
The remaining attempted murder charges are understood to relate to attempts to kill her ex-husband Simon Patterson in separate incidents in 2021 and 2022.
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Erin Patterson’s ex-husband Simon Patterson posted on Facebook in 2022 that he nearly died from stomach issues and was in a coma for weeks. Photo / 7 News
Patterson made her first court appearance on Friday morning at the Latrobe Valley Magistrates Court, after making the short journey from the nearby Morwell Police Station, news.com.au reported.
Her lawyer, Bill Doogue, told the waiting media pack: “We’re ready to go with Patterson.
“Let’s get this show on the road.”
Erin Patterson visits lawyers, one month after the deadly mushroom meal.
Wearing a grey sweater and accompanied by security guards, Patterson reportedly appeared unkempt, her face flushed red as she glanced briefly at waiting media inside the courtroom before turning to Magistrate Tim Walsh.
She showed little emotion, her jaw briefly trembling as she sat down, news.com.au reported.
Prosecutor Acting Sergeant Greg Ellis asked for 20 weeks to prepare and serve a brief of evidence on Patterson’s lawyers, telling the court that prosecutors needed the time to analyse computer equipment seized from her home, 9 News reported.
On Sunday, Pastor Ian was still not well enough to lead the congregation in prayer at church.
Heather Wilkinson and pastor Ian Wilkinson. Photo / Supplied
Also notably absent from the church was Patterson’s 48-year-old estranged husband Simon who, police allege, was to be one of her victims – but pulled out of an invitation to join the others at the fatal lunch on July 29.
Search at family home
Detectives brought in specially trained “technology detector dogs” who can sniff out USB memory keys and sim cards to help survey Patterson’s Leongatha property.
Police were seen both inside and outside Patterson’s home along with five cars parked in the driveway, one of which is hers.
“Homicide Squad detectives have arrested a woman this morning as part of their investigation into the deaths of three people following an incident in Leongatha earlier this year,” a statement issued yesterday by Victoria Police said.
“Four people were taken to hospital on July 30 after they became ill following a meal at a private residence in Leongatha the previous day.
“Two Korumburra women, aged 66 and 70, passed away in hospital on August 4. A third person, a 70-year-old Korumburra man, passed away in hospital on August 5.
“A 69-year-old Korumburra man was released from hospital on 23 September. A 49-year-old Leongatha woman was arrested at her home address shortly after 8am on November 2.
“A search warrant has been executed at the Gibson Street address, with assistance from the AFP’s technology detector dogs.
“The woman will now be interviewed by police and the investigation remains ongoing.”
There has been intense media focus on Patterson since news broke of the poisoning. She has denied deliberately feeding the toxic fungi to her guests, claiming she bought them from an Asian grocery store.
“I’m devastated, I loved them,” Patterson said in a video interview in the days after the story broke.
“I can’t believe this has happened and I’m so sorry that they have lost their lives.
“I just can’t believe it.”
Patterson continued to deny any wrongdoing in the police statement and claimed to have no idea how the deadly beef wellington killed her guests.
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