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Texts reveal accused killer mushroom chef's 'horrible' upbringing, new details of past

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 24 Nov 2023, 11:59AM
Erin Patterson, the Australian woman who cooked the mushroom meal that killed three people, says she is being painted as an 'evil witch' by the media.
Erin Patterson, the Australian woman who cooked the mushroom meal that killed three people, says she is being painted as an 'evil witch' by the media.

Texts reveal accused killer mushroom chef's 'horrible' upbringing, new details of past

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 24 Nov 2023, 11:59AM

Fresh details have emerged about the past of the woman at the centre of one of Australia’s biggest mysteries. 

Erin Patterson, who is accused of murdering three people with a poisonous mushroom dish at her home in Victoria, shared details of her “horrible” upbringing in a text exchange in 2019. 

She denies any wrongdoing. 

In messages exchanged shortly after her mother Heather Scutter died, Patterson opened up about her childhood, including how she and her sister were treated, likening it to a Russian orphanage. 

Patterson described her mother as a “cold robot”, writing that “my mum was ultra weird her whole life”. 

“We had a horrible upbringing. Mum was essentially a cold robot. It was like being brought up in a Russian orphanage where they don’t touch babies.” 

The text messages, first released by the Herald Sun, also detailed how her father attempted to shower his children with love but that ultimately he was a “doormat”. 

Erin Patterson made claims her childhood was horrible because of the treatment from her mother.Erin Patterson made claims her childhood was horrible because of the treatment from her mother. 

Patterson said she and her sister would hide to keep out of trouble. 

“Dad wanted to be warm and loving to us but mum wouldn’t let him because it would spoil us so he did as he was told,” she wrote. 

“She would shout at him if he did the wrong thing so he became very meek and compliant. 

“My sister and I would hide in our room most of the time so we couldn’t do anything wrong.” 

More texts from Erin Patterson about her childhood have been revealed.More texts from Erin Patterson about her childhood have been revealed. 

Former colleagues of Patterson have come out sharing more details of her past, revealing she was an air traffic controller in 2001 before abruptly leaving in 2002. 

One former colleague described Patterson as a “loner”, telling the Herald Sun. 

“Something was not quite right, she was a bit strange, and she didn’t engage with anyone. 

“She would say some weird off-the-cuff things and just didn’t get along with anyone.” 

They described Patterson as secretive, and while other colleagues had gotten to know each other and their families, she explained they knew nothing about Patterson or her background. 

However, one former colleague described the now 49-year-old as intelligent and that she excelled at her job, graduating from the challenging training course and working independently in the field. 

“She was rated in the field and was actually responsible for running airspace for a while,” the former colleague told the Herald Sun. 

“She’s very bright and much brighter than people might think. She managed to get guys wrapped around her little finger although she was very unkempt … and she was abrasive.” 

Airservices Australia confirmed she was an employee as an air traffic controller between February 2001 and November 2002. 

Patterson remains in custody. 

Patterson’s ex-in-laws Don and Gail Patterson, and Gail’s sister Heather Wilkinson, died after symptoms consistent with death cap mushroom poisoning. 

Wilkinson’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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