The woman whose beef wellington killed three of her relatives has admitted lying to police about the lunch that left her guests fatally poisoned – and has revealed that her husband accused her of poisoning his parents.
Erin Patterson, 48, invited her former parents-in-law Gail and Don Patterson, along with Gail’s sister Heather Wilkinson and her husband Ian, for lunch at her Leongatha home, in Victoria’s Gippsland region, on July 29.
Within days, three of her four guests died from suspected mushroom poisoning from the beef wellington served by the mother-of-two.
The surviving guest, Mr Wilkinson, remains in a critical but stable condition in need of a liver transplant.
Erin has given her first detailed account of the fatal meal in a lengthy written statement to Victoria Police, which was obtained by the ABC on Monday.
She had earlier given a no comment interview to police at the start of their investigations, blaming her decision to stonewall cops on it being a ‘terrifying and anxiety-provoking’ experience.
Erin has now revealed that she became unwell after eating the meal and that while she was in hospital, her ex-husband Simon Patterson accused her of poisoning his parents.
She said she was ‘discussing the food hydrator’ when her ex-husband asked: ‘Is that what you used to poison them?’
Food hydrators are used to dry out mushrooms before using them in beef wellingtons.
Erin Patterson (pictured at her home) has given a detailed account to police of what happened at and after the fateful mushroom meal she hosted at her Leongatha home
Erin’s former in-laws Don and Gail Patterson (pictured) died a week after attending the lunch
Ian Wilkinson and Heather Wilkinson (both pictured) became severely ill after they ate wild mushrooms. Mrs Wilkinson died earlier this month while her husband remains in a critical condition in hospital
Erin has also admitted lying to police about how long ago she disposed of the food dehydrator, which was found dumped at a nearby tip.
Ms Patterson said she panicked and dumped the dehydrator, which police have since seized, at the tip after her lunch guests fell ill.
She admitted initially lying to investigators when she told them she had dumped it at the tip ‘a long time ago’.
Police are examining CCTV from the landfill to determine when it was dumped.
Elsewhere in the police statement, Erin said she served the meal before inviting guests to choose their own plates.
She then took the last plate and ate a serving of the beef wellington.
The next day, her two children also ate the meal but the mushrooms were scraped off first as they do not like them.
Previously, it had been claimed that the children were present at the deadly lunch, but it has since emerged that they were actually at the movies at the time.
Erin said she was then hospitalised with bad stomach pains and diarrhoea, and was put on a saline drip and given a ‘liver protective drug’.
She was transported by ambulance from Leongatha Hospital to Monash Medical Centre in Melbourne.
Gail and Don Patterson died after eating the mushrooms
Gippsland Southern Health Service confirmed last Friday that a fifth individual, who initially came to Leongatha Hospital on July 30 with symptoms of possible food poisoning, later returned and was also subsequently transferred to Monash Medical Centre.
The leaked police statement is the first time Erin has spoken at length about the tragedy.
‘I now very much regret not answering some questions … given the nightmare that this process has become,’ she said.
‘I am now wanting to clear up the record because I have become extremely stressed and overwhelmed by the deaths of my loved ones.
‘I am hoping this statement might help in some way. I believe if people understood the background more, they would not be so quick to rush to judgement.
‘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.’
KEY POINTS OF ERIN’S POLICE STATEMENT
1. Erin admitted to originally lying to police and ‘panicked’ by dumping the food dehydrator at a nearby tip, amid fears she would lose custody of her children.
2. She said she actually did eat the beef wellington meal herself and was hospitalised and had to be transferred to Melbourne by ambulance
3. She claims she brought the mushrooms from a supermarket and an Asian grocery store in Melbourne. She was unable to verify which Asian grocer
4. Contrary to previous reports, Ms Patterson’s two children didn’t attend the lunch but ate leftovers from the following night with with the mushrooms taken out.
5. Ms Patterson insists she always had a positive and amicable bond with her former in-laws, even after the marriage with their son broke down
What was left of the meal was preserved and given to hospital toxicologists for examination after Erin was contacted by Department of Health officials as the conditions of her guests worsened in hospital.
The fateful lunch was arranged to try to negotiate a reconciliation with her estranged husband Simon Patterson.
Ms Patterson said Simon had pulled out of the lunch ‘prior to the day’.
Ms Patterson told police she used a combination of button mushrooms bought from a well-known supermarket chain, along with dried mushrooms bought from from an Asian grocery store in Melbourne several months earlier.
She was unable to provide further details about the Asian grocery store.
Ms Patterson also paid tribute to her former in-laws and insists she maintained a positive and amicable relationship with them even after her marriage with their son fell apart.
‘I had been close with Simon’s parents for a long period of time. Our relationship had continued in a fairly amicable way after I finished the relationship with their son Simon,’ she said.
‘Our relationship was affected to some degree by seeing them less after my marriage breakdown with Simon however I have never felt differently towards his parents.
‘I had a deep love and respect for Simon’s parents and had encouraged my children to spend time with their grandparents as I believed they were exceptional role models.’
Erin’s estranged husband Simon Patterson was also meant to attend the lunch but pulled out
Ms Patterson also revealed she ‘reluctantly’ helped care for Simon last years after he spent two weeks in hospital battling a severe stomach illness unrelated to the current incident.
In her statement, Ms Patterson said she ‘reluctantly’ agreed to nurse Simon Patterson for three weeks when he was discharged from hospital, before telling him that she did not want to repair the marriage.
A representative for Simon declined to comment about Ms Patterson’s statement as he continues to mourn the devastating loss of both parents.
A source close to Simon, who has not been out in public since the tragedy, told Daily Mail Australia his mate had no interest in getting back together with the mother of his two children.
‘They went to her house for a mediation to talk to the family. Simon was supposed to go there for lunch, but he pulled out [at] the last minute. Otherwise he would be in that death bed too,’ the friend said last week.
‘The people who died, Gail, Don and the Wilkinsons, were talking to them because they’re heavily ingrained with the church and they wanted to make sure she was right to resume a relationship with Simon… she was basically petitioning to get back with him and the family didn’t think that was a good move.
‘They basically didn’t think she was good enough for him in their eyes.
‘This wasn’t just a lunch; it was an intervention with the pastor as mediator. That’s why this lunch happened.’
MUSHROOM POISONING: A TIMELINE OF EVENTS
Saturday, July 29
Don and Gail Patterson and Heather and Ian Wilkinson (a pastor) gather at Erin Patterson’s home in Leongatha, north-east of Melbourne, for lunch.
Sunday, July 30
All four lunch guests present to hospital feeling ill. It is initially thought they have gastro.
As their condition deteriorates, they are transferred to hospitals in Melbourne.
Friday, August 4
Gail and Heather die in hospital.
Saturday, August 5
Don dies in hospital. Police search Erin Patterson’s home in Leongatha and seize a number of items.
Sunday, August 6
Police are seen returning to Erin’s home to question her. She is heard wailing loudly from inside the house before the four officers leave.
Monday, August 7
Victoria Police Detective Inspector for the Homicide Squad, Dean Thomas, confirms Erin is being treated as a person of interest in the case.
However, he says the investigation is still in its early stages and it is yet to be determined if the deaths are suspicious.
A short time later, Erin breaks her silence and speaks to reporters outside the home. She says she is devastated and ‘loves’ the four relatives who came to her home. She denies any wrongdoing but does not answer questions where the mushrooms came from, who picked them or what meal she made for her guests.
Tuesday, August 8
In a bizarre twist, Simon Patterson was revealed to have suffered from a mysterious Stomach illness in June, 2022. He fell into a coma and was in ICU for 21 days. His case is yet to be explained by doctors.
Forensic testing is underway to find any traces of death cap mushroom on a food dehydrator that was discovered at a rubbish tip. Police believe it was used during preparation of the meal.
Wednesday, August 9
Daily Mail Australia reveals that Simon Patterson was expected to attend the lunch, but pulled out at the last minute
Thursday, August 10
Erin Patterson tells reporters she is driving to Melbourne to see her lawyers. A representative from the legal firm later arrives at her house to hand deliver a letter, but she is not home.
Friday August 11: Erin Patterson provides a lengthy written statement to police
I am Rakesh Sharma, I associated with Elite News as an Editor, since 2021. I take care of all the news operations like content, budget, hiring and policy making.