Accused mushroom killer Erin Patterson forced into protected unit in prison

The Nightly
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Erin Patterson has been moved to a secure unit within prison over fears for her safety.
Erin Patterson has been moved to a secure unit within prison over fears for her safety. Credit: TheWest

The woman accused of murdering three people by feeding them a lunch laced with deadly mushrooms has been forced into protective care within a maximum security prison for women in Melbourne over serious fears for her safety.

Erin Patterson, who has been held on remand for four months in the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, has reportedly been moved into the same secure unit housing pedophile rapist principal Malka Leifer.

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Patterson, 49, was charged with three counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder, four of which relate to her ex-husband Ian Patterson, in November last year.

Police allege she killed her former in-laws Don and Gail Patterson, both 70, and Gail’s sister Heather Wilkinson, 66, who had all eaten a poisonous meal of beef wellington at her home in Leongatha.

Don Patterson and Gail Patterson.
Don Patterson and Gail Patterson. Credit: Supplied

All three died in hospital days after consuming the meal on July 29.

Mr Patterson had been due to attend that meal but cancelled at the last minute.

A prison source told The Herald Sun that Ms Patterson was placed in the protection unit, isolated from other inmates due to safety risks.

“If Erin got out of protection, the girls would hurt her,” they said.

“She allegedly killed three elderly people.

“There’s a rule, you don’t touch the elderly and you don’t touch babies so because of that, you go into protection.

“She would be doing it very, very hard in there as she would only be able to speak to two or three girls and that’s it.”

It is believed Ms Patterson is being housed in one of the self-contained units which comes with a bed, shower, toilet, sink, desk and closet and she may have access to a kitchen.

Unlike other prisoners, because she is on remand, she would not be when required to work within the prison.

Ms Patterson is due back in LaTrobe Valley Magistrates Court on May 3.

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