Erin Patterson Who Cooked Allegedly Deadly Mushroom Lunch Admits She Lied to Cops

The woman in Australia who cooked a meal using mushrooms suspected to have caused the deaths of three of her relatives gave a written statement to police on Friday insisting that the fatalities were a tragic accident.

Erin Patterson, who has not been charged in connection with the case which has gripped Australia, said she too was hospitalized after eating the beef wellington. Authorities say Patterson’s 70-year-old parents-in-law, Don and Gail Patterson, as well as Gail’s 66-year-old sister, Heather Wilkinson, displayed symptoms associated with the ingestion of death cap mushrooms before they died following the lunch at Patterson’s home in the town of Leongatha around 70 miles southeast of Melbourne on July 29.

Heather Wilkinson’s husband, Ian Wilkinson, 68, was also left in critical condition after consuming the mushrooms. He remains in hospital while waiting for a liver transplant. Police said last week that Patterson is being treated as a suspect in their investigation into the deaths but that detectives are keeping an open mind. The mushrooms have not yet been definitively ruled as causing the fatalities.

“I am now wanting to clear up the record because I have become extremely stressed and overwhelmed by the deaths of my loved ones,” Patterson, 48, said in her written statement to Victoria Police, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported Monday. She added that she is “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,” Patterson wrote.

Patterson also said she was sorry to have followed advice of giving police a “no comment” interview in the wake of the deaths. “I now very much regret not answering some questions following this advice given the nightmare that this process has become,” she wrote, calling the interview itself “terrifying and anxiety-provoking.”

She also contradicted initial police reports that her children were present in the house at the time of the meal but they did not eat the food. Instead, she says the kids had gone to a movie before the lunch took place, and that they did eat the leftovers the following night. Patterson said the children don’t like mushrooms, so she scraped them off the meal before serving the food.

Patterson said she required hospital treatment for stomach pains and diarrhea after eating the ill-fated dish and was given a “liver protective drug.” She also preserved what was left of the wellington when her other guests fell seriously ill, with health officials contacting her about what may have caused the severe sickness. The remains of the meal were handed to hospital toxicologists for analysis.

Patterson claims that the mushrooms involved in the dish were a mixture of button mushrooms bought at a well-known supermarket chain and dried mushrooms which she’d bought months before the meal at an Asian grocery store in Melbourne. Although she was unable to identify the specific store in the latter case, health officials sent her images of packs of mushrooms marked by hand-written labels which resembled the packs she had described to them.

Patterson also spoke about reports that police had seized a food dehydrator from a dump, confirming that it belonged to her. She admitted that she lied to cops that she’d got rid of the device “a long time ago,” and that she was speaking about the dehydrator with her kids at the hospital when her ex-husband—whose parents died after eating the wellington—asked her: “Is that what you used to poison them?” Patterson explained that she feared losing custody of her children and, in a panic, decided to dump the device.

She added that she had been close with her parents-in-law even after she became estranged from her husband, Simon Patterson, who was also supposed to attend the meal but canceled “prior to the day.”

“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,” she wrote.

Police say their investigation into the deaths is still underway.

What's your reaction?

Related Posts

1 of 676