Wealthy mother-of-two Erin Patterson once led a privileged life before her marriage failed and she allegedly served a deadly mushroom dinner.
The 49-year-old heiress, who owns a property portfolio worth millions of dollars, was arrested on Thursday morning at her rural Gibson Street property in Leongatha in Victoria’s Gippsland region, 140km southeast of Melbourne.
Hours after the arrest, she was still in the fancy two-story home where she hosted an allegedly deadly beef Wellington pie lunch on July 29 while police used sniffer dogs to examine her car and garage.
The trained accountant is the owner of the house she built following her mother’s death four years ago and a stunning seafront property after inheriting cash.
Police and sniffer dogs swarmed Erin Patterson’s home in Leongatha (above) on Thursday.
Wealthy heiress and mother of two Erin Patterson was arrested three months after she prepared a beef Wellington pie for lunch that allegedly led to the deaths of three relatives
Ms. Patterson’s lunch reportedly contained one of the world’s most poisonous plants, Amanita phalloides.
The meal of the day, a filet of beef, was reportedly covered in a paste of death cap mushrooms, rolled in puff pastry and, according to Ms. Patterson’s own statement published in August, served to guests “who were 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, and his aunt, Heather Wilkinson, 66, died.
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 determined the three deaths were confirmed poisonous mushroom deaths, but have not revealed how the alleged victims consumed the poisons.
Erin Patterson’s once quiet life turned chaotic when she came under media siege following the deaths of three luncheon guests at her Leongatha home
Died, survived, died, died: Erin Patterson’s four lunch guests were her husband’s aunt Heather Wilkinson (left), Pastor Ian Wilkinson and her in-laws 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 portion” but suffered no serious symptoms – has seen her previously orderly and comfortable life torn apart.
The former respected editor of a national newspaper and beneficiary of a supposedly considerable fortune could no longer go out in public without being followed by media cameras and complained that 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 employee and her mother, Dr. Heather Scutter, became a lecturer in 19th century adult literature at Monash University 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 bookshop in a southwest town before returning to country Victoria.
Erin married Simon Patterson (above) and they had two children together, but their marriage failed because heiress Erin was an atheist and Simon was reportedly “deeply religious.”
Erin Patterson inherited the stunning seaside property in Eden that her parents bought after they left Victoria, her mother died in 2019 and left the house to her two daughters
Erin took over the running of the Burra Flyer, the local newsletter previously published by Don and Gail Patterson in their hometown of Korumburra.
Simon Patterson, a talented amateur photographer who traveled to Africa and other overseas countries to pursue his craft, contributed regularly to the publication.
As her children grew up, Erin became a stay-at-home mom, although it has since been claimed that she looked down on newsletter contributors from her local community.
An online forum that Erin came to know through her complaints about her then-husband and her passion for true crime claimed she branded locals “illiterate wankers” during a tirade.
In another message, Erin appeared to take aim at Simon Patterson, attacking the engineer for not doing enough housework.
“My husband has no idea a cleaning lady is coming.” “I love it,” Erin reportedly posted while the couple were still together.
“Now I’m no longer annoyed that he never helps me with anything because I don’t do the big jobs either… now I just have to resent him for doing the dishes in the evening.”
A poster on the forum, which has since been deactivated, claimed that Erin worked as an accountant and at the Department of Defense and stated: “She is meticulous and very smart, her whole family are extremely smart people.”
Erin’s parents, the Scutters, moved from Victoria to NSW in 2009, to a stunning seafront property in Eden, on the cliff above Aslings Beach overlooking the vastness of the South Pacific.
Erin Patterson’s in-laws and lunch guests are buried in Kurumburra Cemetery (above) and their deaths have since been attributed to mushroom poisoning
When Eitan Scutter died, his ashes were scattered on Aslings Beach, after which Heather Scutter developed cancer and ultimately died in 2019.
Erin Patterson and her sister Ceinwen Scutter inherited the million-dollar Eden estate and supposedly enough money for prime real estate investments that made Erin independently wealthy.
Unfortunately, it coincided with the breakdown of her marriage to Simon Patterson.
In 2022, Simon suffered a severe bout of illness that left him hospitalized for what was believed to be Clostridium difficile, a bacterial infection that causes diarrhea and colitis.
Simon spent 21 days in intensive care after collapsing at his home in May 2022, and although Erin kept his friends updated on his condition on social media, their marriage appeared to be over.
Following the disastrous outcome of Erin’s lunch on July 29, it was suggested that the meal was also a forum for mediation by the older guests to restore Erin and Simon’s marriage.
Simon Patterson was supposedly a guest at the luncheon but pulled out at the last minute.
Investigators swarmed the house in Leongatha (above) where Erin Patterson served the allegedly fatal Beef Wellington lunch
A police dog next to the porch of Erin Patterson’s home in rural Victoria, which was searched after her arrest
One of Erin’s friends, who participated in the online forum discussion about her after lunch, reported that Erin was eager to get back together with her deeply religious husband.
Instead, it was claimed that Erin initiated the breakup.
“I understand she’s an atheist…she was very unhappy in her marriage and felt like a single mother (with) ‘my husband doesn’t do his part’ type comments,” the friend explained.
“We didn’t hear much about Simon except that he was never home.” I never helped her. She was very secretive about it… She left him. She didn’t want to come back with him. ‘
After the deaths of her in-laws and her husband’s aunt, and while Pastor Wilkinson remained hospitalized and police named Erin Patterson as a person of interest, she responded to the unwelcome media gathering in her driveway.
“My mother died four years ago and Gail was always 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 have ever met. You never did anything to me.’
Persecuted by the media, Erin Patterson placed signs outside her Leongatha home warning trespassers and retreated from the public eye as best she could.