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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Australian woman faces court for alleged mushroom murder

Sydney — An Australian woman appeared in court on Friday accused of murdering her in-laws with a toxic mushroom lunch and attempting to kill her estranged husband four times.

Erin Patterson, 49, is charged with three counts of murder for allegedly dishing up a poisonous beef Wellington that killed her parents-in-law and a third lunch guest, the wife of a local pastor.

Police have previously suggested the crusted beef fillet was laced with death cap mushrooms.

Patterson, a former newsletter editor, was taken into custody this week following a headline-grabbing, three-month investigation.

The alleged triple murder has rocked the sedate farming town of Leongatha, about two hours’ drive south-east of Melbourne.

Leongatha is better known for its medieval society’s re-enactments and its annual daffodil festival.

Patterson has also been charged with repeatedly trying to murder her estranged husband, Simon Patterson.

Police said Simon Patterson “became ill after meals” on separate occasions in 2021 and 2022, and have charged Erin Patterson with four counts of attempted murder.

The 49-year-old was flanked by guards as she made her first appearance in Latrobe Valley Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

She wore a beige jersey and appeared composed throughout the brief administrative hearing.

Patterson will return to court in May 2024 after police secured a 20-week adjournment so detectives have enough time to comb through computers seized from her house. — AFP

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