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Australian woman pleads not guilty to mushroom lunch murders

Erin Patterson news

49-year-old Erin Patterson is accused of poisoning three people to death during a mushroom-laced beef Wellington meal last year.

Today she entered  pleas of not guilty to the charges.

Patterson is facing three charges of murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection to the July 2022 lunch. Police also allege that she tried to kill her estranged husband on three prior occasions.

Appearing via video link at the Latrobe Valley Magistrates Court in Victoria, Patterson firmly maintained her innocence, saying ‘Not guilty, Your Honour.’

The case has attracted global attention and deeply affected the small Victorian community. Patterson’s former in-laws, Gail and Don Patterson, along with Gail’s sister Heather Wilkinson and Heather’s husband Ian, attended the fateful lunch at her Leongatha home, a two-hour drive southeast of Melbourne. Though Erin Patterson’s estranged husband Simon was invited, he didn’t attend.

Shortly after consuming the meal, all four guests fell ill, initially attributing their symptoms to food poisoning. Within days, Gail and Don Patterson, both 70, and Heather Wilkinson, 66, had passed away. Ian Wilkinson, 68, survived after nearly three months in the hospital. Police believe the group consumed deadly death cap mushrooms, which Patterson allegedly served while remaining unharmed herself.

After extensive investigation, authorities discovered that Patterson allegedly made three other attempts to murder her estranged husband between 2021 and 2022. She now faces a total of eight charges and is set for a Supreme Court trial in Melbourne, with the first hearing scheduled for May 23.

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