Mushroom deaths: Weird twist as poisoning victims are buried after Erin Patterson speaks out
A couple who died of suspected mushroom poisoning in Victoria’s South Gippsland have been laid to rest in a low-key private ceremony.
The family of Gail and Don Patterson, who died a day apart nearly a week after eating a beef Wellington dish believed to contain poisonous deadly mushrooms, were buried in a private service ‘with only close members of the family”.
Their son’s ex-wife, Erin Patterson, cooked the meal and remains a suspect but is not in custody.
A family spokesperson would not confirm whether Ms Patterson, as well as the two school-age children she has with ex-husband Simon Patterson, attended the funeral service.
The couple will be honored again at a public memorial service next week.
The service will be held for Gail and Don Patterson on August 31 at the Korumburra Recreation Center.
“The Patterson family expressed their deep gratitude for the outpouring of love, support and understanding during this difficult time,” read a statement from the family.
Don and Gail Patterson were buried quietly at a private service attended ‘only close family members’ just over three weeks after they were allegedly fatally poisoned by a Beef Wellington lunch containing Death Cap mushrooms .
Simon Patterson reportedly celebrated his parents’ private funeral earlier this week with his children, although it’s unclear if his ex-wife Erin Patterson attended the service.
“In keeping with the wishes and character of Don and Gail, the family has chosen to commemorate their lives in a way that reflects their values and the love they shared with their community.
Gail and Don Patterson, both 70, died in hospital after having lunch at a home in Leongatha, southeast Victoria, three weeks ago on July 29.
Ms Patterson’s sister, Heather Wilkinson, 66, also died after the meal while her husband, Baptist minister Ian Wilkinson, remains in hospital in a critical but stable condition.
Police believe all of their symptoms were consistent with poisoning from deadly mushrooms.
The Pattersons’ daughter-in-law, Erin Patterson, is considered a person of interest because she cooked the lunch that allegedly led to the deaths.
She was questioned by the police and released without charge, but has been under intense media scrutiny ever since.
In a statement to police, Ms Patterson said she made Beef Wellington pie using button mushrooms from a major supermarket and dried mushrooms bought from an Asian grocery store.
Erin Patterson cooked the Beef Wellington lunch that allegedly contained Death Cap mushrooms, which contain the world’s deadliest toxins.
Gail Wilkinson also died after eating lunch, but her husband, Baptist pastor Ian Wilkinson (right), is still alive and in need of a liver transplant in hospital.
Don and Gail Patterson, who were buried in a private service, will be honored at a public memorial in the Victorian town of Korumburra next week.
The 48-year-old said her ex-husband was due to attend lunch but pulled out, while her children were also away from home at mealtime.
Ms Patterson said her children ate the leftover beef Wellington the next day, along with the scraped mushrooms.
She also said she ate a portion and then suffered severe stomach pain and diarrhea, contrary to detectives’ suggestion that she did not become ill.
Victoria Police did not comment on Ms Patterson’s statement other than to say she had not been caught by officers, nor did they provide any updates on their investigation.
Victoria’s Department of Health is required to act in the event of a food safety incident.
There have been no ordered recalls of mushroom products in the state since the alleged poisonings.