Woman charged with murder after beef wellington left three people dead
The mum-of-two, 49, was taken into custody on Thursday morning and questioned at Wonthaggi police station in Victoria, Australia.
Erin Patterson – the woman at the centre of an alleged poison mushroom plot which left three people dead – has been charged with three counts of murder.
The mum-of-two, 49, was arrested at her home on Thursday morning and questioned at Wonthaggi police station in Victoria, Australia, The Age reports.
She has now also been charged with five counts of attempted murder.
Patterson has been remanded in custody and is appearing at Morwell Magistrates’ Court on Friday.
Investigators have been searching her home in Leongatha where the fatal family lunch was held on July 29.
Ms Patterson made beef wellington for her estranged husband Simon’s parents Gail and Don, both 70, as well as Gail’s sister Heather Wilkinson, 66, and brother-in-law Ian Wilkinson, 68.
Heather, Gail and Don all died days later having fallen seriously unwell, while Ian spent nearly two months in hospital before eventually recovering.
Investigators believe the group ate death cap mushrooms.
Patterson has always insisted she did not intentionally poison her in-laws and says she was also ill after the meal.
Victoria Police confirmed on Thursday they had made an arrest in the case.
They said: ‘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.
‘Four people were taken to hospital on July 40 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.’
The death cap is responsible for 90 per cent of mushroom poisoning deaths, The Age reports.
One bite is enough to kill someone, causing severe gastroenteritis and eventually organ failure.
Anyone who becomes unwell after eating a wild mushroom is urged to seek urgent medical care and, if possible, take samples for identification.
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