The ex-husband of a woman accused of killing three people with a deadly mushroom meal hasn’t been home since she was charged with making four attempts on his life.
His neighbour revealed Simon Patterson hasn’t returned to his house in several days as the community grapples with the “bloody awful” allegations.
“He’s a nice guy, it’s just bloody awful,” the neighbour said on the condition of anonymity.
His ex-wife Erin Patterson has been charged with murder after she cooked a mushroom meal that left three people dead and one person in hospital.
Police allege it was her fourth attempt at killing her 48-year-old former partner, who pulled out of the lunch at the last minute.
Erin Patterson, 49, made a brief appearance in the Latrobe Valley Magistrates’ Court on Friday morning after a police raid at her home on Thursday led to charges in an alleged poisoning case.
She has been charged with three counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder.
Charge sheets released to the media by Magistrate Tim Walsh indicate police allege Ms Patterson attempted to kill her ex-husband four times between 2021 and this year.
The attempts allegedly occurred between November 16 and 17, 2021, May 25 and 27, 2022, and on September 9 last year.
The fourth alleged attempt is said to have occurred on July 29, when Mr Patterson’s parents, aunt, and her husband fell ill after eating a meal at her Leongatha home.
Mr Patterson was expected to attend the lunch, which was hosted as part of a church mediation process for their relationship, but he pulled out at the last minute.
His parents, Gail and Don Patterson, both 70, and aunt, Heather Wilkinson, 66, died in hospital days after the alleged poisoning.
Mrs Wilkinson’s husband, Ian, spent seven weeks in hospital in a critical condition following the lunch.
Ms Patterson is accused of attempting to murder the 69-year-old Korumburra pastor.
She has repeatedly denied responsibility for the deaths.
At a memorial service for his parents on August 31, Mr Patterson described his parents as “very much a team, working at life together”.
“The fact they died on consecutive days is fitting in some ways as it reflects the togetherness as a couple that they always worked so hard to grow,” he said.
“Mum’s final message in our group chat, as she lay in Dandenong hospital, was ‘lots of love to you all’”.
In August, Ms Patterson claimed to reporters that she had also been admitted to hospital after the lunch with bad stomach pains.
In a statement to police she wrote: “I am now devastated to think that these mushrooms may have contributed to the illness suffered by my loved ones”.
“I really want to repeat that I had absolutely no reason to hurt these people whom I loved.”
Ms Patterson has steadfastly denied responsibility for the deaths.
“I lost my parents-in-law, my children lost their grandparents,’’ she told The Australian on August 16.
“And I’ve been painted as an evil witch. And the media is making it impossible for me to live in this town. I can’t have friends over.”
She was remanded into custody on Friday and will return to court in May next year.