Australian woman charged with using poison mushrooms to kill ex-in-laws

A woman in Australia was charged with murder Thursday after allegedly poisoning her former in-laws by serving them lunch laced with killer poison mushrooms, the New York Post reports.

Police believe Erin Patterson, 49, intentionally laced the Beef Wellington she served Gail and Don Patterson, her ex-mother and ex-father-in-law, both 70, as well as Gail’s sister Heather Wilkinson, 69, with highly toxic death cap mushrooms. The three of them all died within days of eating the meal on July 29.

Patterson has also been charged with five counts of attempted murder.

Wilkinson’s 69-year-old husband also ate the meal and was subsequently hospitalized for months.

Three incidents occurred in 2021 and 2022 when Patterson’s ex-husband, Simon Patterson, 48, fell ill after eating her meals, police reported.

Simon was supposed to join his family for lunch with Patterson but skipped it last minute. When he found out about the illnesses, he accused his ex-wife of poisoning them.

If convicted of all charges, Patterson faces up to 25 years in prison. She was arrested and questioned Thursday while her house was searched by investigators and technology detector dogs which police said are trained to find items such as hard drives.

A food dehydrator was found discarded in the trash, which investigators are analyzing to see if it was used to prepare the mushrooms.

Patterson reportedly fed her children different meals that day. She and her kids were the only ones who did not get sick.

She has maintained her innocence and denied any involvement in the sudden deaths.

“Today’s charges are just the next step in what has been an incredibly complex, methodical, and thorough investigation by homicide squad detectives,” Detective Inspector Dean Thomas said.

“I know that people will no doubt have many unanswered questions about this matter, however, I urge people to be especially mindful of unnecessary speculation and not sharing misinformation.

“Our thoughts today are with the families of those impacted and we will continue to ensure they are provided with all the necessary support they need.”

Patterson told reporters in August that she loved her in-laws and is “devastated they are gone,” adding that “They were some of the best people I’ve ever met.”


Image: Title: Erin Patterson
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