With her name now inextricably linked to the infamous 29 July meal, former colleagues of Erin Patterson's have spoken out about their experiences with the mushroom cook, revealing she once worked for the Department of Defence.
In early 2001, the mother-of-two began her career as an air-traffic controller for Airservices Australia, where she was regarded as "something of a genius" by her peers.
"She was rated in the field and was actually responsible for running airspace for a while," a former colleague says. "She's much brighter than people might think."
Erin left her job at Tullamarine Airport in late 2002, then reportedly became an accountant. In early 2018, Erin and her then-husband Simon took over the editorship of the much-loved community newsletter The Burra Flyer from his parents, Don and Gail Patterson.
In leaked messages to a former friend regarding the Flyer, Erin slammed local contributors. In the alleged texts, she lamented, "I am very good at details… I've been editing the community magazine for two years now and I have to bring together articles... and turn them into something legible."
Erin grew up in the Melbourne suburb of Glen Waverley with her parents Eitan and Heather Scutter, plus sister Ceinwen.
In 2009, the Scutters moved to Eden, three hours south of Canberra, where Eitan died from cancer two years later.
Accomplished geologist Ceinwen studied at Monash University and is credited for her research on the fracture behaviour of volcanic glass. She is also a keen baker and her cake business has hundreds of followers.
When Heather also passed away from cancer in 2019, Ceinwen and Erin inherited the family's flash beachfront property in Eden.
It had always been Erin's dream to live in the forest, so in 2019, when she inherited her share of her mother's stunning million-dollar home on the New South Wales coast, she told a friend how selling it pushed her to make her own ambition a reality. Just weeks later, Erin bought the Leongatha one-hectare block where her recently built house stands. In leaked texts, she claimed to the friend that she'd been "eyeing it off" for months.
"It's been a dream to build all my life and can only do it thanks to my mum's house selling," she allegedly wrote. "Silver lining to her passing! It's amazing. Really closer to my town where my kids go to school."
Just hours before she was arrested over the murders of her former in-laws and the reverend's wife, Heather Wilkinson, it was reported that Erin threw a party for friends at her Leongatha home.
Neighbours said a group of friends attended the property the night before she was arrested by police, with Erin reportedly unaware it would be her last night as a free woman.
She will remain at the maximum-security Dame Phyllis Frost Centre in Deer Park, Victoria, until her next court appearance in May 2024.
Her lawyer Ben Doogue is expected to make an application for bail in the coming weeks.
Texts from a former friend of Erin's have revealed a fascinating insight into the life of the charged woman.
The messages, which were shared on an online true crime forum by the ex-friend, show the pair discussing life at home and Erin's love of true crime, books and cooking.
"My husband has no idea we have a cleaner come – I love it," Erin allegedly wrote while the couple were still together.
With Erin Patterson now facing murder charges over the alleged toxic mushroom meal that left three people dead and one person in a coma in July, police say new computer evidence gathered from her property in Leongatha, Victoria, will be at the forefront of their case.
Earlier this month, police descended on Erin's home two hours south-east of Melbourne and were seen retrieving bags of evidence.
Specialised "technology detector dogs", which are trained to sniff out SIM cards and USBs, were also deployed on the search.
A police source confirms any deleted files on the 49-year-old's computer will be uncovered by the force's specialist team and may be used as evidence in court.
"It's not easy, but it's doable on most occasions," the insider says. "I would suggest they are looking for evidence of any searches she has made in regards to the type of mushrooms she's allegedly used and which ones would be most likely to have toxins."
The source also confirms that the alleged killer's social media footprint will be investigated.
Erin has previously denied any wrongdoing.
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