The Student Media Site of William Clarke College

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The Student Media Site of William Clarke College

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The Student Media Site of William Clarke College

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Killer Mushrooms?

Image Credit: Thimo Perderson, Unsplash

Mushrooms that caused the death of 3 and the near death of 1.

A story of an Australian mother’s mushroom filled meal that caused her to be charged with 3 murders.


Erin Patterson, 49, hosted and cooked a meal for her ex in-laws, Gail and Don Patterson and Heather (Gail’s sister) and her husband Ian. Her dish, a Beef Wellington believed to contain deadly mushrooms. It has been stated after looking over the symptoms of the four family members who were at the meal, that the mushrooms were most likely the wild Amantia phalloides or, as it’s more commonly known, the Death Cap mushroom.

The Patterson’s unfortunately did not survive along with Gail’s Patterson’s sister, Heather. Her husband, however, did survive but was put in a coma for two months in the hospital.

Erin Patterson was recently charged with 3 counts of murder and 5 counts of attempted murder as it was later revealed that her ex-husband, Simon Patterson, 48 also became ill after eating three meals over 2021 and 2022, which led to the addition of 3 counts of attempted murder.

Ms Patterson continues to deny any allegations of any wrongdoing, delivering tearful statements to the media two days after the 3rd death saying, “I’m devastated. I loved them. I can’t believe that this has happened and I’m so sorry,”. She continued saying she had no reason to hurt the people that she loved.

Although the media has come to increasingly cast doubt on Ms Patterson’s statements. With their supporting points being that although Patterson said that she ate the meal herself she didn’t get violently sick, and she did go to the hospital despite having no known symptoms. Her children also were said to have consumed this meal but were also unaffected, Ms Patterson stating that both of her children hate mushrooms, so she took it off their meals. The media continues to state that this is too coincidental.

Erin Patterson also explained that she couldn’t remember where she brought the mushrooms. What makes this extra suspicious to the media is that Ms Patterson took over ownership of a local newsletter back in 2018 from her former in laws until 2020. In the September – November issue of the newsletter she included details of a local workshop teaching people in the community how to grow their own mushrooms. Though there is no confirmation to say that this is linked with the mushroom poisoning lunch.

This tragic story has continued to shock Australians as they find out more and the story unravels in front of them.

Erin Patterson’s case as of now has been adjourned until May 3, 2024, while prosecutors analyse computer equipment taken from Patterson’s home. The trial promises to be one of the major legal talking points of next year.

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