Mushroom cook Erin Patterson faces court after police lay murder charges over deadly meal (2024)

Erin Patterson, the woman at the centre of a mushroom lunch that resulted in the deaths of three people, has faced court after she was charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder.

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

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

READ MORE: Former detective says mushroom poisoning case is complex

Mushroom cook Erin Patterson faces court after police lay murder charges over deadly meal (1)
Mushroom cook Erin Patterson faces court after police lay murder charges over deadly meal (2)

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.

"OK," she replied, nodding her head.

Both defence and the prosecution tried to move the matter to Melbourne, but Mr 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.

Mr Doogue said Patterson did not have any custody management issues.

She was remanded in custody to next face court on May 3.

Mushroom cook Erin Patterson faces court after police lay murder charges over deadly meal (3)
Mushroom cook Erin Patterson faces court after police lay murder charges over deadly meal (4)

Yesterday evening the 49-year-old was charged with three counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder.

Three of the murder charges and two of the attempted murder charges relate to the mushroom lunch in July of this year that left three people dead and another critically ill in hospital.

The remaining three attempted murder charges relate to historical incidents against a 48-year-old Korumburra man, believed to be Patterson's estranged husband Simon Patterson.

"The murder charges and two attempted murder charges relate to an incident on 29 July where four people were taken to hospital after they fell ill following a meal at a private residence in Leongatha," Victoria Police said.

"The further three attempted murder charges relate to three separate incidents in Victoria between 2021-2022.

"It's alleged a 48-year-old Korumburra man became ill following meals on these dates."

Patterson has previously denied any wrongdoing.

The 49-year-old spent hours being questioned by homicide detectives after police arrested and drove her from her Leongatha home in the state's Gippsland region to Wonthaggi police station.

READ MORE: Surviving victim of mushroom poisoning farewells wife at emotional service

Mushroom cook Erin Patterson faces court after police lay murder charges over deadly meal (5)

Detective Inspector Dean Thomas from the Homicide Squad said the charges were the "next step" in a long investigation.

"Today's charges are just the next step in what has been an incredibly complex, methodical and thorough investigation by homicide squad detectives," he 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."

Mushroom cook Erin Patterson faces court after police lay murder charges over deadly meal (6)

A search warrant was executed at Patterson's Gibson Street address today with the help of technology detector dogs from the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

Patterson was previously questioned and released without charge by detectives from the Homicide Squad in August.

Thomas said over the last three months the investigation has been subject to "incredibly intense levels" of public scrutiny and curiosity.

"I cannot think of another investigation that has generated this level of media and public interest not only here in Victoria but nationally and internationally," he said.

"I think it's particularly important that we keep in mind that at the heart of this, three people have lost their lives.

"These are three people who by all accounts were much beloved in their communities and are greatly missed by their loved ones.

"These deaths also continue to have a significant impact on the immediate families of those involved and I ask that people are particularly mindful of this over the coming days.

Mushroom cook Erin Patterson faces court after police lay murder charges over deadly meal (7)

"In smaller communities such as Leongatha and Korumburra, a tragedy such as this can reverberate for years to come."

On July 30, four people were hospitalised after they shared a meal at Patterson's Leongatha home the day prior.

Heather Wilkinson, 66, her sister Gail Paterson, 70, and her husband Don, also aged 70, died in hospital after the incident.

A fourth man, local pastor Ian Wilkinson, was recently released from hospital after weeks of extensive treatment. Estranged husband Simon Patterson was reportedly invited to the lunch but pulled out the day before.

All four had shared a meal, alleged to be a beef Wellington cooked by Patterson.

Investigators were exploring if the four had consumed death cap mushrooms, a rare but poisonous mushroom that is thought to be responsible for 90 per cent of mushroom-related deaths globally.

Mushroom cook Erin Patterson faces court after police lay murder charges over deadly meal (2024)
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