Wealthy mother-of-two Erin Patterson once led a life of privilege before her marriage collapsed and she allegedly served a fatal mushroom lunch.
The 49-year-old heiress, who owns a multimillion dollar property portfolio, was arrested at her rural property on Gibson Street in Leongatha, in Victoria’s Gippsland region, 140km southeast of Melbourne, on Thursday morning.
Hours after the arrest she left the smart two-storey home where she hosted an allegedly fatal lunch of Beef Wellington pie on July 29, after police with technology detection dogs examined her car and garage.
She was seen entering Wonthaggi Police Station on Thursday afternoon to be interviewed by Homicide detectives.
The trained accountant had been taken in a police vehicle for a 30 minute drive from the house she owns and built outright after an inheritance of cash and a stunning oceanfront property when her mother died four years ago.
Police scoured Erin Patterson’s property with technology detection dogs on Thursday
Police removed bags of evidence from Erin Patterson’s Leongatha Home (above) after her arrest on Thursday morning
Erin Patterson enters the police station (above) after being arrested on Thursday morning to be interviewed by Homicide detectives after police searched her Leongatha home
Detectives are now interviewing Ms Patterson, 49, after she was arrested at her Leongatha home which was searched by police
Ms Patterson’s lunch allegedly contained one of the world’s most toxic plants, Amanita phalloides.
The meal of the day, a fillet of beef, was allegedly covered in a paste of Death Cap mushrooms, rolled in flaky pastry and was served – according to Ms Patterson’s own statement released in August – to guests ‘allowed to choose their own plates’.
Six days later, Erin’s ex-husband Simon’s father Don Patterson, 70, died, and the following day Simon’s mother Gail Patterson, 70, died, along with his aunt Heather Wilkinson, 66.
His uncle, Pastor Ian Wilkinson, who survived but may have undergone a liver transplant, was released from hospital on September 22.
Victoria Police have since stated the three deaths as confirmed poison mushroom fatalities, but have not revealed how the alleged victims consumed the toxins.
Investigators swarmed over the home in Leongatha (above) where Erin Patterson served the allegedly fatal Beef Wellington lunch
Erin Patterson’s once calm life became chaotic as she was under siege by the media in the wake of three lunch guests’ deaths at her Leongatha house
Died, survived, died, died: Erin Patterson’s four lunch guests were her husband’s aunt Heather Wilkinson (left), Pastor Ian Wilkinson, and her parents-in-law Don Patterson and Gail Patterson
In the months since all four fell ill, Erin Patterson – who says she took ‘the last plate and ate a serve’, but escaped any severe symptoms – has seen her previously orderly and comfortable life torn apart.
The former respected country newspaper editor and beneficiary of a reportedly sizeable fortune could no longer go out in public without being followed by media cameras, and complained she had been branded ‘an evil witch’.
Erin Patterson grew up in the Melbourne suburb of Glen Waverley with her sister Ceinwen, and parents Heather and Eitan.
Her father was a government worker and her mother Dr Heather Scutter became a Monash University lecturer in 19th century adult literature and a renowned children’s book critic and author of articles and reviews on children’s literature.
Erin married Gippsland engineer and basketball coach Simon Patterson, and the couple had two children.
The Pattersons moved to Western Australia for a time and ran a book shop in a southwestern town before returning to country Victoria.
Wealthy heiress and mother-of-two Erin Patterson was arrested three months after she cooked a Beef Wellington pie lunch which allegedly caused the deaths of three relatives
Erin married Simon Patterson (above) and they had two children together but their marriage fell apart, with heiress Erin an atheist and Simon reportedly ‘deeply religious’
Erin Patterson inherited the stunning oceanfront property at Eden her parents had bought after leaving Victoria, her mother dying in 2019 and leaving the home to her two daughters
Erin took over the running of the Burra Flyer, the local newsletter previously edited by Don and Gail Patterson in their home town of Korumburra.
Simon Patterson, a talented amateur photographer who travelled to Africa and other overseas countries to pursue his craft, regularly contributed to the publication.
Erin became a stay-at-home mother as her children grew up, although it has since been alleged she looked down on contributors from her local community to the newsletter.
One online forum which came to know Erin for her complaints about her then husband and for her passion for true crime, claimed she branded the locals ‘illiterate motherf**kers’ during a rant.
In another message, Erin seemingly took aim at Simon Patterson, attacking the engineer for failing to do enough housework.
‘My husband has no idea we have a cleaner come. I love it,’ Erin allegedly posted while the couple were still together.
‘Now I don’t resent the fact that he never helps me with anything because I’m not doing the big jobs either… now all I have to resent him over are the nightly dishes.’
One poster to the forum, since deactivated, claimed Erin had worked as an accountant and with the Department of Defence, stating ‘she’s meticulous and very smart, her whole family are extremely smart people.’
Erin’s parents, the Scutters, moved from Victoria to live in NSW in 2009, in a stunning oceanfront property at Eden, on the clifftop above Aslings Beach overlooking the expanse of the South Pacific Ocean.
Erin Patterson’s parents-in-law and lunch guests lie buried in Kurumburra cemetery (above) and their deaths have since been ruled as from mushroom poisoning
When Eitan Scutter died, his ashes were scattered on Aslings Beach, after which Heather Scutter became ill with cancer, eventually dying in 2019.
Erin Patterson and her sister Ceinwen Scutter inherited the million dollar Eden property and reportedly enough money for plum property investments which made Erin independently wealthy.
Unfortunately it coincided with the downfall of her marriage to Simon Patterson.
In 2022, Simon suffered a severe bout of illness which hospitalised him for what was said to clostridium difficile, a bacterial infection which causes diarrhoea and colitis.
Simon spent 21 days in intensive care after collapsing at his home in May 2022, and although Erin kept his friends updated about his condition on social media, their marriage seemed over.
In the wake of the catastrophic outcome of Erin’s July 29 lunch, it was suggested that the meal was also a forum for mediation by the older guests to repair Erin and Simon’s marriage.
Simon Patterson was allegedly a lunch guest, but pulled out at the last minute.
A police dog by the verandah of Erin Patterson’s house in rural Victoria which was being searched after her arrest
One of Erin’s friends who contributed to the online forum discussion about her in the wake of the lunch disputed reports Erin had been keen to get back together with her deeply religious husband.
Instead, it was claimed, Erin had initiated the split.
‘She’s an atheist as far as I know … she was very unhappy in her marriage and felt like a single parent (with) “my husband isn’t pulling his weight” type commentary,’ the friend stated.
‘We didn’t hear much about Simon other than he was never at home. Never helping her. She was very closed about this … She left him. She didn’t want to get back with him. ‘
After the death of her parents-in-law and husband’s auntie and while Pastor Wilkinson remained in hospital, and police named Erin Patterson as a person of interest, she responded to the unwelcome media clustered in her driveway.
‘My mother died four years ago and Gail was never anything but good and kind to me,” she said, describing her late mother-in-law as ‘like the mother I didn’t have’.
‘Ian and Heather were some of the best people I’d ever met. They never did anything wrong to me.’
Hounded by the media, Erin Patterson placed signs outside her Leongatha home warning trespassers and retreated from the public eye as best she could.