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Only living victim in Australia’s death cap mushroom lunch poisoning released from hospital

Only living victim in Australia’s death cap mushroom lunch poisoning released from hospital

The sole survivor in Australia’s lethal mushroom poisoning was released from a hospital on Saturday, nearly three months after the incident.

Ian Wilkinson, a local Baptist pastor in Korumburra, was left fighting for his life, while all the others who ate the meal died of poisoning on 30 July, including the cook’s former in-laws. The family ate a beef Wellington dish that is believed to have contained deadly death cap mushrooms.

Tragedy struck in Australia when Erin Patterson invited her former parents-in-law Gail and Tom Patterson for a meal, along with Gail’s sister Heather Wilkinson and her husband, Ian. Within days of the meal, Gail and Tom, both 70, and Heather, 66, were all dead and Ian, 68, was hospitalised in critical condition.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the family said that Mr Wilkinson’s health improved enough for him to be discharged from the hospital.

"We are pleased to announce that Ian Wilkinson has made significant progress in his recovery and was released from Austin Hospital on Friday," the spokesperson said in a statement quoted by ABC News.

"This milestone marks a moment of immense relief and gratitude for Ian and the entire Wilkinson family,” said the statement, requesting privacy.

"The Wilkinson family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to the Leongatha, Dandenong and Austin Hospitals for their unwavering dedication and exceptional care that played a pivotal role in Ian’s recovery.

“The medical team’s expertise and compassion have been a source of comfort and hope throughout this journey.”

Erin Patterson sobs in interview (News International)
Erin Patterson sobs in interview (News International)

While homicide detectives are investigating the three deaths, Ms Patterson, who served the dish, remained out of custody. At the time of the incident, she denied intentionally poisoning the guests, adding that she too fell ill after eating the lunch.

Also a suspect in the case, Ms Patterson said that she bought the mushrooms from an Asian grocery store in Melbourne but could not recall the exact location.

“I am now devastated to think that these mushrooms may have contributed to the illness suffered by my loved ones,” the 48-year-old said. “I really want to repeat that I had absolutely no reason to hurt these people whom I loved.

Don and Gail Patterson died after eating poisoned mushrooms at Erin Patterson’s home in Victoria, Australia, on 29 July. (Supplied)
Don and Gail Patterson died after eating poisoned mushrooms at Erin Patterson’s home in Victoria, Australia, on 29 July. (Supplied)

Ms Patternson also expressed her frustration at the “unfair” portrayal by the media.

“I lost my parents-in-law, my children lost their grandparents and I’ve been painted as an evil witch,” she said.

“The media is making it impossible for me to live in this town. I can’t have friends over. The media is at the house where my children are at. The media are at my sister’s house so I can’t go there. This is unfair.”

Earlier on Sunday, when Ms Patterson was approached by Australia’s 7 News for comments following Mr Wilkinson’s release from hospital, she shouted: “No. Go away.”

The Korumburra Baptist Church held a service to celebrate the news of his recovery, where many including Ms Patterson’s estranged husband, Simon Patterson showed up.

“We’ve all got questions, but hopefully they’ll get answered,” Trevor Shaw from the church told 7 News.

“The truth will come out and then we’ll all be able to, in a sense, relax because then there’ll be some closure.”