Accused mushroom poisoner Erin Patterson is having her first Christmas dinner behind bars: a lonely meal in her cell inside Victoria’s largest women’s prison.

Dressed in prison greens, Ms Patterson will be dining today on a modest plate of ham and chicken in the women’s protection wing in the notorious Dame Phyllis Frost Centre in Melbourne’s western industrial suburbs.

She is one of 40,600 inmates spending Christmas Day in 116 prisons around Australia.

Ms Patterson, 49, is a world away from the home she lovingly built but which was the scene of the beef wellington pie lunch that allegedly killed three guests.

She swapped her comfortable life as a property heiress and country mum for one as a cellmate when she was arrested at the house seven weeks ago.

This will likely be the first Christmas she cannot see her children, who are aged in their early teens.

Like Victoria’s other 6,242 inmates, 301 of them women, Ms Patterson will have toast and cereal for breakfast, before eating a Christmas lunch made and served by other inmates.

Erin Patterson’s meal in jail 

While she can eat a selection of cooked meats with gravy and roast vegetables, Ms Patterson won’t have access to prawns, because seafood is considered too ‘fancy’ by jail authorities for prisoners.

She can have cake or plum pudding with custard for dessert, and at dinner time – about 3pm – dinner will be cold meat and salad.

Ms Patterson has been in prison since early November after police charged her with three counts of murder and five of attempted murder.   

Now behind bars in a cramped cell, she is among 600 maximum-security female inmates – including gangland matriarch Judy Moran – in Victoria’s toughest women’s jail which is notoriously violent, freezing in winter and boiling hot in summer.   

Accused mushroom poisoner Erin Patterson is having her first Christmas dinner behind bars: a lonely meal in her cell inside Victoria’s largest women’s prison 

Located between an asphalt quarry and an electrical substation, the Dame Phyllis Frost correctional centre is one of three adjacent jails housing thousands of inmates, two of them state-run.

Patterson can receive visits from friends or her children, but not on Christmas Day when the state’s public prisons are closed to visitors.

The kids will have to visit on other days during the holidays, although it is unclear who would accompany the young teens into the jail at Deer Park.

Ms Patterson is charged with trying to murder the children’s father, Simon Patterson, on four separate occasions in November 2021, May and September 2022, and at the mushroom lunch at her Leongatha home in Gippsland, Victoria, in July 2023.

Ms Patterson is also charged with allegedly murdering Heather Wilkinson, and Heather’s sister Gail Patterson and her husband, Don Patterson, who are Simon Patterson’s parents.

In addition, she is charged with the attempted murder of Ian Wilkinson, a Baptist pastor who became seriously ill and spent seven weeks in the hospital after the Leongatha lunch.

She will have contact with prison chaplains behind bars at this time, and reportedly since her incarceration has been reading the Bible, the one book freely available inside.  

Unless she makes a successful bail application, it is understood she will be held behind bars until her next court appearance on May 3, where she is expected to appear via video link.

Ms Patterson has not entered a plea to any charge and Daily Mail Australia does not suggest she is guilty, but is simply on remand.  

ERIN PATTERSON’S JAIL XMAS DAY ON A PLATE

Xmas day on a plate for Victorian inmates:

Breakfast: Toast and cereal

Lunch: Ham, chicken, gravy and roast vegetables prepared by inmates

Dinner: Cold meat and salad

A cell inside the Dame Phyllis Frost correctional centre where Erin Patterson  is an inmate

A cell inside the Dame Phyllis Frost correctional centre where Erin Patterson  is an inmate

What inmates will be eating this Christmas around Australia: A separate look at convicted criminals around the country 

BABY KILLER KELI LANE

Whether it's Keli Lane's last Christmas in prison will be a test of the 'no body, no parole' law at her release hearing next May when the convicted baby killer will be challenged over the location of her murdered baby daughter

Whether it’s Keli Lane’s last Christmas in prison will be a test of the ‘no body, no parole’ law at her release hearing next May when the convicted baby killer will be challenged over the location of her murdered baby daughter

While Erin Patterson is spending her first Christmas in prison, convicted baby killer Keli Lane may be enjoying the last of 13 festive-season meals served in a foil tray.

Incarcerated in NSW prisons since just before Christmas 2010, Lane will be dining on roast turkey with gravy, potatoes and seasonal vegetables, followed by a fruit mince pie. 

Whether or not it is her last Christmas prison chow and she is released in May next year will be a test of the new ‘no body, no parole’ law introduced into NSW.

The last time Lane was a free woman was 12 days before Christmas 2010, when she walked into the King Street courthouse in Sydney’s CBD and left handcuffed inside a prison van after a jury found her guilty of murdering her baby daughter.

Behind the razor wire at Silverwater where thousands of men and women are locked in their cells on Christmas Day and not allowed visitors

Inmates are served meals in their cell prepared by other prisoners and reheated in each jail wing

Behind the razor wire at Silverwater where thousands of men and women are locked in their cells on Christmas Day and not allowed visitors (left). Seen right are prison Christmas meals

Women inmates, above in the yard at Silverwater women's prison, will be served up their Christmas dinner in a foil tray

Women inmates, above in the yard at Silverwater women’s prison, will be served up their Christmas dinner in a foil tray

Lane had been charged with killing the child she gave birth to in 1996, Tegan, who had left hospital with her as a two-day-old and has never been seen since. 

That afternoon, jurors finally came to a majority decision that the water polo player from Sydney’s Northern Beaches had killed Tegan, and Lane was sent off to jail and eventually sentenced to a maximum 18 years in prison.

Behind bars, while serving time alongside other notorious child killers in jails like Silverwater women’s prison, Lane has always maintained her innocence.

She was most recently seen in the grounds of Emu Plains Correctional Centre, which has a dairy, going to work at its milk processing plant.

CHRISTMAS DAY FARE FOR NSW PRISONERS

Breakfast: Breakfast pack of cereal, bread, jam and carton of milk.

Lunch: General – Roast turkey with gravy, potatoes, and seasonal vegetables.

Vegetarian – Spinach and cheese patties, potatoes, and seasonal vegetables. 

Dessert: Fruit mince pie.

Dinner: General – Crumbed fish salad with tomato, cucumber, carrots and lettuce.

Vegetarian – Vegetarian schnitzel salad with tomato, cucumber, carrots and lettuce.

Dessert: Christmas slice 

The roadblock to Lane’s freedom is a parole hearing that will consider the fact Tegan’s remains have never been found, and Lane has insisted she gave the child to a man whom police never located.

If she fails in her parole bid, Lane will have to reapply, with her full sentence not due to expire until 2028.

Up to 30,000 lunches and dinners have been prepared under the NSW prison system’s ‘cook chill’ method and distributed to the 35 correctional facilities throughout the state.

The meals are nutritionally balanced and everyday menus can range from Thai curries to Middle Eastern fare, although inmates often complain the food is tasteless and they long for McDonald’s or KFC. 

THE MUM DECAPITATOR

As proved by troublesome inmates like Jessica Camilleri, time spent in prison can stretch out even longer if you misbehave.

And the woman convicted of decapitating her mother is lonely not just at Christmas, having ‘been abandoned by her remaining family’ while also facing taunts from other inmates ‘following [the] extensive publicity relating to her mother’s passing’.

Inside the former Mulawa women's jail (above), where Jessica Camilleri - jailed for decapitating her own mother - attacked female officers, pulling out their hair

Inside the former Mulawa women’s jail (above), where Jessica Camilleri – jailed for decapitating her own mother – attacked female officers, pulling out their hair

Jessica Camilleri chopped off her mother's head and removed the eyes and tongue

Camilleri placed her mum's head on the footpath outside her family home and the remains were removed

Jessica Camilleri chopped off her mother’s head and removed the eyes and tongue, then placed it on the footpath outside her family home (right) where officers removed the remains

Camilleri, now 29, in 2019 cut off her mother’s head, placed it on the footpath outside their western Sydney home and removed the tongue and eyes and stood by in a dress drenched in blood.

Camilleri’s sentence for manslaughter was increased after she was convicted  of tearing hair from the scalps of female prison officers, making her earliest release date 2032.

WIFE KILLER’S SECOND CHRISTMAS BEHIND BARS  

Also in prison for longer than anticipated are wife killer Christopher Dawson and axe attacker Evie Amati.

Dawson spent his first festive season in prison last year after being convicted of murdering the first of his three wives, Lynette Simms, back in 1982.

Lynette’s family felt justice had been done after the one-time football star, male model and sports teacher had spent so many years as a free man denying he had killed the mysteriously missing Lyn.

But Dawson’s family, and in particular his identical twin Paul, felt the acute separation of his incarceration, especially because Chris is likely to die in jail unless he wins the appeal he has launched against his murder conviction. 

Wife killer Chris Dawson - whose health has declined behind bars - is spending his second holiday season in jail of 20 unless he wins appeals against his murder and carnal knowledge convictions

Wife killer Chris Dawson – whose health has declined behind bars – is spending his second holiday season in jail of 20 unless he wins appeals against his murder and carnal knowledge convictions 

Dawson’s 18-year minimum sentence for murder was topped up this year with a further two years, to begin in August 2039 after the completion of his murder sentence.

It’s no wonder the 75-year-old uttered a string of expletives when he was convicted in September for the carnal knowledge of the 16-year-old babysitter who became his second wife.

His steep physical decline in just over a year in prison – he suffers from early dementia – means he is unlikely to make it to 93 and walk out a free man in 2041. 

EVIE AND THE 3KG AXE 

Evie Amati is spending possibly her second last Christmas behind bars, although she had hoped to be back with her family in Western Australia before now.

7-Eleven convenience store attacker Evie Amati wields her 3kg axe, striking deli customers Ben Rimmer (left) and Sharon Hacker (doorway) after a night of drug-taking and rage about her transition surgery

7-Eleven convenience store attacker Evie Amati wields her 3kg axe, striking deli customers Ben Rimmer (left) and Sharon Hacker (doorway) after a night of drug-taking and rage about her transition surgery

Evie Amati (above in a police interview) was reportedly transitioning back to male while in prison and is due for release on parole in January 2025

Evie Amati (above in a police interview) was reportedly transitioning back to male while in prison and is due for release on parole in January 2025

Armed with a with a 3kg axe, Amati attempted to murder overnight customers at a suburban 7-Eleven in inner-western Sydney in January 2017.

Her barrister said Amati, now 31, was angry after undergoing surgery in Thailand in 2014 and enduring pain transitioning to womanhood.

After having her sentence increased, Amati is serving a minimum eight years until her January 2025 release date. 

Incarcerated in a series of women’s prisons, Amati was last reported to be de-transitioning back to male and had fought with other female prisoners who wanted her moved to a male jail.

SUPERMAX

Down in Goulburn’s Supermax prison, ex-Brothers 4Life gang leader Farhad Qaumi will be feasting on the religious-friendly or vegetarian meal offered to Muslim inmates.

Qaumi is in the High Risk Management Correctional Centre, which is Australia’s most secure jail because it houses the country’s most violent criminals, who cannot be allowed to mix in the wider NSW jail system. 

Supermax, which clocked up 20 years of locking up criminals in 2022, has adapted from once caging serial killers and mass murderers to housing Muslim jihadi inmates.

This means on December 25, the ‘cook chill’ meals wheeled through the X-ray machine at Supermax’s doors will be spinach and cheese patties, potatoes and seasonal vegetables at lunchtime, with an optional fruit mince pie.

Former Brothers4Life enforcer Farhad Qaumi proved why he is a classic Supermax inmate - too violent for general population - when he attacked a triple murderer in the TV room with a shiv

Former Brothers4Life enforcer Farhad Qaumi proved why he is a classic Supermax inmate – too violent for general population – when he attacked a triple murderer in the TV room with a shiv 

Vegetarian meals will be served on Christmas day to the majority of Supermax inmates, who are now mostly jihadis and Muslims rather than old-style serial killers and mass murderers

Vegetarian meals will be served on Christmas day to the majority of Supermax inmates, who are now mostly jihadis and Muslims rather than old-style serial killers and mass murderers

Qaumi hit the headlines when Supermax CCTV footage from 2020 was released, revealing his attack with a jail-made shiv on underworld assassin Abuzar Sultani.

Sultani, who is serving life without parole for murdering gangland mafioso Pasquale Barbaro and three others, has now been removed from contact in Supermax with Qaumi.

The Extreme High Risk Restricted (EHRR) inmates in Supermax can choose between the crumbed fish with tomato, cucumber, carrots and lettuce, and a vegetarian selection for the ‘evening’ meal.

The halal meal at dinner time – which will be served at 3.30pm on Christmas Day – is vegetarian schnitzel salad with tomato, cucumber, carrots and lettuce, followed by a Christmas slice. 

Abuzar Sultani, convicted of four murders, including the gangland slaying of Pasquale Barbaro, is serving life without parole

Abuzar Sultani, convicted of four murders, including the gangland slaying of Pasquale Barbaro, is serving life without parole 

Ex-Brothers 4Life gang leader Farhad Qaumi, 39, (left) stabs triple-murderer Abuzar Sultani with a jail-made shiv inside a TV room at Supermax

Ex-Brothers 4Life gang leader Farhad Qaumi, 39, (left) stabs triple-murderer Abuzar Sultani with a jail-made shiv inside a TV room at Supermax

A Supermax cell at Goulburn where the mostly jihadi prisoners will eat a vegetarian or 'religious friendly' Christmas dinner

A Supermax cell at Goulburn where the mostly jihadi prisoners will eat a vegetarian or ‘religious friendly’ Christmas dinner

Other fellow inmates passing the day within the clinical confines of the ultra-secure facility include accused drug kingpin Mostafa Baluch.

Baluch was placed in maximum security after cutting off his ankle bracelet while on bail at his luxury home on Sydney’s northern beaches and fleeing in a Mercedes inside a shipping container.

He faces a potential life sentence if convicted for allegedly organising the importation of 900kg of cocaine from Ecuador.

Multi-denominational religious services – which include Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Christian – will be held for inmates on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, but not on December 25.

CLAREMONT SERIAL KILLER

Over in Western Australia, Claremont serial killer Bradley Roberts Edwards is marking his eighth Christmas behind bars after just celebrating his 55th birthday inside Casuarina Prison.

Serving a minimum 40-year sentence for the murders of Jane Rimmer and Ciara Glennon and for the brutal sexual assaults of two other women, Edwards will be eating a modified meal of poultry with the option of vegetarian dishes.

But there will be no visits on Christmas Day for Edwards, who reportedly continues to deny he’s a murderer.

The seemingly mild-mannered Telstra technician raped a 17-year-old girl in Perth’s main cemetery the 1990s when he was secretly stalking one of Perth’s favourite party suburbs before he turned into a killer.

Claremont serial killer Bradley John Edwards is serving his seventh year of a life-without-parole sentence for murdering Ciara Glennon

Edwards murdered Ciara Glennon (above) and Jane Rimmer, creating terror in Perth

Claremont serial killer Bradley John Edwards is serving his seventh year of a life-without-parole sentence for murdering Ciara Glennon (right) and Jane Rimmer, creating terror  in Perth

With no possibility of parole until 2056, Edward will be almost 90 if he survives in Casuarina maximum security prison where he is a fellow inmate with Terry Kelly.

Kelly, 37, the man who abducted four-year-old Cleo Smith from her family’s tent at a remote Western Australian campsite in 2021, is serving at least 11 years and six months in prison for his crime.

Both Edwards and Mr Kelly will be served traditional fare such as roast chicken and ham, along with vegetables and fruit sourced from WA’s three prison farms. 

Kelly and Edwards are among 6,287 inmates in Western Australia’s 17 adult prisons, 664 of whom are female prisoners.

FEMALE SERIAL KILLER 

It’s the 37th Christmas in prison for the state’s most notorious women inmate, Catherine Birnie, who still hopes to win her release despite successive state governments refusing her pleas.

To other inmates at Bandyup maximum security women’s correctional facility in north-western Perth, the now 72-year-old Birnie might seem like a harmless jail librarian dressed in prison greys.

But in 1986, a decade before Bradley Edwards’ reign of terror, she and her psychopath husband David went on a murder spree, killing four women, and terrorising a fifth who managed to escape.

Catherine Birnie, now 72, is trying to get out of jail in Western Australia where she is serving time for the kidnap, rape and murder of four women in 1986

Catherine Birnie, now 72, is trying to get out of jail in Western Australia where she is serving time for the kidnap, rape and murder of four women in 1986

Birnie is incarcerated at Bandyup women's prison in Perth's north-western suburbs

Birnie is incarcerated at Bandyup women’s prison in Perth’s north-western suburbs

DANIEL MORCOMBE’S KILLER

Up in Queensland, loathed child killer Brett Peter Cowan will sit down in his cell on Christmas Day to a basic meal of ham or chicken with a choice of salad or vegetables at Wolston Correctional Centre, south-west of Brisbane.

Cowan abducted and murdered 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe just before Christmas 20 years ago as the teenager went to buy gifts for his family.

The convicted child offender was not arrested until 2011 and was sentenced for Daniel’s murder in 2014, but in more than a decade in Wolston jail has managed to bulk up his once lean frame despite the modest size of prison meals.

Sentenced to life, which in Queensland means 20 years, Cowan is unlikely to secure a release from jail when his term is up, when he will be 65.

Even inside Wolston, mostly a ‘protection’ prison for alleged paedophiles, sex offenders and high-profile prisoners, Cowan remains a target of attack due to his crimes. 

Loathed child killer Brett Peter Cowan is now aged 54 and is spending his twelfth holiday season in Wolston jail for the 2003 murder of young teen Daniel Morcombe

Loathed child killer Brett Peter Cowan is now aged 54 and is spending his twelfth holiday season in Wolston jail for the 2003 murder of young teen Daniel Morcombe

Cowan has been attacked at least twice at Wolston jail (above) which houses high-profile inmates and accused paedophiles and sex offenders

Cowan has been attacked at least twice at Wolston jail (above) which houses high-profile inmates and accused paedophiles and sex offenders

In 2017, he was left with skin peeling from his face, chest and burgeoning prison gut after bank robber Adam Paul Davidson poured boiling water over the hated paedophile when he was playing cards. As a result some of Cowan’s tattoos ‘melted’.

He is also now sporting a pot belly in his prison tracksuit, reportedly moves slowly, and looks older than his 54 years.

Cowan was again assaulted at Wolston in October this year in a ‘jail napalm’ attack of jam or sugar inserted in boiling water and thrown over the victim.

He was targeted along with Australia’s worst alleged paedophile, charged with 1,600 counts relating to alleged sexual abuse of 91 girls at childcare centres in Brisbane and Sydney over 15 years.

Ashley Paul Griffith, 45, is on remand but has been incarcerated in Wolston’s protection wing due to the fact the allegations against him involve children.

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