Son of couple killed after eating 'poisonous' mushroom in beef wellington reveals mother's heartbreaking last message

31 August 2023, 15:29

Don and Gail Patterson died after eating the mushroom, served up by Erin Patterson, and her estranged husband and Simon paid tribute to his parents
Don and Gail Patterson died after eating the mushroom, served up by Erin Patterson, and her estranged husband and Simon paid tribute to his parents. Picture: Social media/handouts

By Will Taylor

The son of a couple who died after eating a beef wellington thought to have contained death cap mushrooms has revealed the final text he got from his mother.

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Simon Patterson was meant to go to the same lunch, hosted by his estranged wife, that left three people dead and another seriously ill but had to pull out at the last minute.

Erin Patterson, who has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged, said she also had the meal which killed her in-laws Don and Gail Patterson in Australia.

Gail's sister, Heather Wilkinson, also died while her husband Ian, a pastor, is ill and waiting for a liver transplant in hospital.

It is suspected the beef wellington, which was served up at Erin Patterson's home in Leongatha, Victoria, on July 29, contained the highly toxic death cap mushroom, while Erin said she bought mushrooms from a supermarket and Asian store.

Read more: Toxicologist reveals horrific final moments of guests who ate beef wellington meal 'containing death cap mushroom'

Don and Gail Patterson died after eating the suspected toxic mushroom in the beef wellington
Don and Gail Patterson died after eating the suspected toxic mushroom in the beef wellington. Picture: Handout
Erin Patterson has said she ate the meal too
Erin Patterson has said she ate the meal too. Picture: Screengrab

Simon told more than 300 mourners at a service for his parents that Gail posted to a family group chat in her final text, as she lay dying in hospital: "Lots of love to you all."

He said his parents were "a team, working at life together".

"The fact they died on consecutive days is fitting in some ways, as it reflects their togetherness as a couple that they always worked so hard to grow," he said.

Read more: Australian police blast media over 'unhelpful' reporting of Erin Patterson poisoned mushroom case

Don, 70, had survived a liver transplant but his body was "too sick" to continue, he said.

Simon told the mourners at Korumburra Recreation Centre, two hours south east of Melbourne: "They acknowledged life's transience and death’s reality as something that is not right about the world and very sad but also knew that death is not final.

"They would always wave goodbye when they parted ways. It was partly because one day would be the last wave."

Simon Patterson revealed his mother's last message before she died from suspected mushroom poisoning
Simon Patterson revealed his mother's last message before she died from suspected mushroom poisoning. Picture: Social media

News.com.au said he went on: "As Mum and Dad lay in comas in the hospital in their final days and each day... we were unsure if they would recover or not, it was comforting to know that when we said 'see you later', we knew it was true.

“The only thing we didn't know was when. In the meantime, we'll miss them."

During the service, they were described as "respected" and "pillars of the community". They died just months short of their 50th wedding anniversary in November.

They travelled to Botswana while in their twenties and after they retired they taught English in China, with one of their former students described them as "real parents".

Homicide cops are still investigating what happened. Erin Patterson is being treated as a person of interest but it has not been suggested the poisoning was deliberate.

"I am now devastated to think that these mushrooms may have contributed to the illness suffered by my loved ones," she said in a past statement.

"I really want to repeat that I had absolutely no reason to hurt these people whom I loved."

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