Mushroom murder-accused faces court as more details emerge

Erin Patterson, cook behind lethal mushroom lunch, fronts court

The woman accused of murdering three people by allegedly serving them death cap mushrooms at her home has faced court in Victoria.

Erin Patterson, 49, has been charged with three counts of murder and five of attempted murder, after four people fell ill during a lunch at her home in Leongatha home in South Gippsland in July.

Media filled three rows of seating on Friday morning, as she appeared in Latrobe Valley Magistrates Court for a brief hearing.

Patterson, wearing glasses and a beige jumper, stared straight ahead from the custody dock on the side of the court room.

Prosecutor Acting Sergeant Greg Ellis asked for 20 weeks to prepare and serve a brief of evidence on Patterson’s lawyers.

“There needs to be analysis of computer equipment seized yesterday,” he told the court.

Patterson’s lawyer Bill Doogue agreed to the delay.

“It seems to be based on a lot of analysis that we haven’t received and hasn’t even been completed, which is why they’re asking for extra time,” he said.

Magistrate Tim Walsh explained to Patterson that the matters they were discussing were administrative.

“Don’t be too concerned, all right, the important thing is this matter progresses through the system as fast as possible,” he told her.

“OK,” she replied, nodding.

Both defence and the prosecution tried to move the matter to Melbourne, but Walsh decided to set down the next hearing at the Morwell court.

“I imagine the materials are going to be voluminous, and that it does go to Melbourne so that a particular magistrate can manage the matter,” he said.

Doogue said Patterson had no custody management issues.

She was remanded in custody to next face a hearing via video link on May 3.

Heather Wilkinson, 66, her sister Gail Patterson and brother-in-law Don Patterson, both 70, all died after the meal, on July 29 this year.

Patterson is charged with the attempted murder of Wilkinson’s husband Ian, 68, who spent close to two months in hospital critically ill and is still in recovery, court documents stated.

The remaining four charges of attempted murder relate to Patterson’s ex-husband.

Police will allege she first attempted to murder Simon Patterson between November 16 and 17, 2021.

She is again accused of her ex-husband’s attempted murder last year, between May 25 and 27, and on September 6.

Patterson is also charged with Mr Patterson’s attempted murder at the July 29 lunch.

Patterson’s two children were at home during July’s lethal lunch but did not eat the same meal.

-with AAP

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