The sole survivor of a fatal mushroom lunch in which three people died from suspected poisoning has broken his silence more than six months later.
Ian Wilkinson, pastor of Korumburra Baptist Church in eastern Victoria, delivered a heartfelt sermon to the congregation on February 11.
The 70-year-old revealed that he would have celebrated his 45th wedding anniversary that week with his wife Heather, who died in hospital a few days after the meal.
He reportedly told those gathered last Sunday that it had been a “pretty big week.”
“At the beginning of the week, it had been six months since Heather, Gail and Don went to be with the Lord,” Mr. Wilkinson said.
“And yesterday was our 45th wedding anniversary, so it’s been a pretty big week, but I’m grateful for everything that God has given me, God has done through me.”
Ian Wilkinson (pictured with his wife Heather), pastor of Korumburra Baptist Church in eastern Victoria, delivered a heartfelt sermon to the congregation on January 11.
Wilkinson was the only survivor of a deadly mushroom lunch held at Erin Patterson’s home on July 29, 2023. Pictured, Korumburra Baptist Church in eastern Victoria.
The pastor, who has spent 25 years at the church, jokingly asked the congregation if they remembered a Bible teaching series that was “discontinued” last year.
‘Does anyone remember our series on Genesis that we started last year?’ she asked.
Does anyone have any vague memories of that? It was dramatically interrupted in the middle of Genesis chapter two.’
Mr Wilkinson said he was grateful for the support offered by the congregation, to whom he said “the roads are sometimes difficult but God is good”. He is with us’.
“A pastor is nothing without the team, the family of God, without the partners in the gospel and you have been such wonderful partners and let me encourage you to keep going,” he told those gathered.
Several shared their admiration for the pastor’s “service, leadership, wisdom, thoughtfulness and wonderful teaching,” the Herald Sun reports.
“When Ian was approached to be our pastor, the church was quite small and had gone through a difficult time, but this did not discourage Ian… he was willing to follow God’s example,” said one woman.
“Funds were tight and manpower was tight, but Ian and Heather’s faith, trust and example guided us.”
Accused mushroom chef Erin Patterson, 49, was arrested at her home and charged with three counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder on Nov. 2.
Don and Gail Patterson, both 70, were also victims of the suspected mushroom poisoning.
Accused mushroom chef Erin Patterson, 49, was arrested at her home in Leongatha, east of Victoria, and charged with three counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder on November 2.
It came several months after the mother-of-two served a beef Wellington lunch suspected of being laced with death mushrooms at her home on July 29.
Wilkinson was the only survivor of the deadly lunch, which claimed the lives of his wife Heather Wilkinson, 66, and Don and Gail Patterson, both 70.
Patterson’s husband, Simon, pulled out of the family lunch at the last minute.
Patterson remains behind bars at Victoria’s largest women’s prison, the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, in Melbourne’s western industrial suburbs.
She has not pleaded guilty to any of the charges.
The police are expected to present their brief of evidence on March 25, 2023.