Mushroom deaths mystery: Woman claims she bought fungi from grocer, says kids ate leftovers (2024)

Ian Wilkinson, a 68-year-old local Baptist Church pastor, remains in hospital in a critical condition needing a liver transplant.

Police have said the people who fell ill and died displayed symptoms of having eaten death cap mushrooms, and last week said Patterson was being treated as a suspect but that investigators were keeping an open mind.

Patterson has now given a sworn written statement to police, claiming it was a mistake in the first instance to refuse comment to investigators. According to The Age, this was the advice given to her by a lawyer who no longer represents her.

Patterson’s statement is consistent with remarks she made to the media last week in front of her house, where she said she could not “fathom what has happened.”

“I can’t believe that this has happened, and I am so sorry that they have lost their lives,” she told the media last week.

Patterson continued to deny any wrongdoing in the police statement and still has no idea how the deadly beef wellington killed her guests.

Mushroom deaths mystery: Woman claims she bought fungi from grocer, says kids ate leftovers (1)

According to Patterson, the media’s coverage of the incident was wrong and biased, and as a result, she was inadvertently but purposely painted as the perpetrator rather than the innocent party.

How she procured the allegedly toxic mushrooms, how the beef wellington dish was prepared, and what happened to the leftovers are all explained in detail in Patterson’s police statement.

At least three months prior to the lunch, according to the statement, she bought a bag of mushrooms from an Asian grocery store in Mount Waverley. She reported the label on the package of mushrooms she purchased was handwritten.

The meal’s rehydrated mushrooms were combined with additional mushrooms that were bought from a store and cooked into the beef wellington dish, The Age reported.

Mushroom deaths mystery: Woman claims she bought fungi from grocer, says kids ate leftovers (2)

However, Patterson acknowledges in the police statement that the food dehydrator they discovered in a waste bin at the Koonwarra Transfer Station was purposely thrown away. She said in the statement that she had panicked and thrown away the device after she claims that she had been falsely accused of poisoning the food.

In the statement, Patterson claims she too fell ill after consuming the meal on July 31, two days after the dinner party. The Age reported she was admitted to the hospital in Leongatha before an ambulance transferred her to a hospital in Melbourne.

Patterson said she was given treatment to protect her from liver damage during her hospital stay.

Patterson’s children were not at the lunch and instead were at the movies. However, they did reportedly consume the beef Wellington leftovers, but the mushrooms had been scraped off the dish before it was served. Neither child got sick, according to the statement.

According to The Age, Patterson told the Department of Health where she had bought the mushrooms when her four guests were admitted to the hospital and confirmed that samples found at the Asian grocery store in containers with handwritten labels were identical to the kind she had bought months earlier.

Patterson said in the statement that the accusation she poisoned her lunch guests and the ferocious conjecture it sparked had severely harmed her mental health and wellness.

In a statement from the victims’ families, published in the South Gippsland Sentinel Times said, the group was described as “pillars of faith” in the community.

“Their love, steadfast faith, and selfless service have left an indelible mark on our families, the Korumburra Baptist Church, the local community, and indeed, people around the globe.”

Additionally, it was earlier revealed that Simon Patterson, the son of Gail and Don and the estranged husband of Erin, had his own close call with death in the past due to major gastrointestinal issues which landed him in intensive care for three weeks.

“Some of you will know that I’ve had some serious medical problems since late May. I collapsed at home, then was in an induced coma for 16 days through which I had three emergency operations mainly on my small intestine, plus an additional planned operation,” he said in a social media in June last year.

“My family were asked to come and say goodbye to me twice, as I was not expected to live. I was in intensive care for 21 days, after which I was in the general ward for a week, and now I’m at a rehab place since last Saturday.

“I’m pleased to say all the medical work has seemed to have fixed the serious gut problems I had, and I’ve been feeling great for many days.”

After spending so much time in the intensive care unit, Simon Patterson stated in the post that he no longer felt pain and was regaining his fitness. He announced that his wife Erin, their children, and they all intended to drop by that afternoon.

In 2020, a spate of wild mushroom poisonings in Victoria killed one and saw seven others admitted to hospital, the BBC reported.

“If you haven’t purchased them from a supermarket, perhaps stay clear of them,” Thomas said.

Mushroom deaths mystery: Woman claims she bought fungi from grocer, says kids ate leftovers (2024)
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