Woman at centre of 'poisonous' mushroom lunch 'breaks cover to withdraw cash after going into hiding'

11 August 2023, 11:17 | Updated: 16 August 2023, 09:35

Sobbing Erin Patterson (L) when quizzed by local TV about the deaths after the deaths of close relatives
Sobbing Erin Patterson (L) when quizzed by local TV about the deaths after the deaths of close relatives. Picture: social media
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

A mother who is alleged to have served relatives a poisonous mushroom lunch, leaving three dead and one more critical, has been spotted 'withdrawing cash after going into hiding'.

Homicide detectives have confirmed Erin Patterson, 48, is a person of interest after three close relatives died after eating a mushroom lunch she served.

Ms Patterson has denied any wrongdoing, with the mum-of-two going into 'hiding'. Her lawyers have reportedly been handing her legal instructions at her home after her phone and computer was confiscated.

On Friday, however, Ms Patterson broke cover as she went to an ATM machine in Melbourne city centre, nearly 100 miles from her home, to withdraw cash.

She was wearing the same red shirt and white pants she was pictured in earlier in the week as she denied any wrongdoing, Daily Mail Australia reports.

Police have said Ms Patterson could be "very innocent".

Erin Patterson
Erin Patterson. Picture: social media

Ms Patterson is said to have invited her estranged former partner Simon to their family home for the meal with his parents Gail and Tom Patterson, along with Gail’s sister Heather Wilkinson and her husband Ian.

All four guests fell ill after the meal at Erin's home in Leongatha, in Victoria's Gippsland region on July 29, before being admitted to hospital the following day.

Mr Wilkinson is the only one left alive in a critical condition.

Her ex-husband, Simon, was meant to be at the meal, but dropped out at the last minute.

Read More: Ex-husband of woman accused of killing three former relatives with poisonous mushrooms 'skipped family lunch'

Read More: Ex-husband of woman at centre of 'toxic' mushroom lunch 'suspects she may have poisoned him previously'

Officials have warned about two types of poisonous mushrooms that grow in Victoria during the cooler months.

On Tuesday, Erin sobbed in front of local TV cameras saying: "I loved them and I'm devastated that they're gone.

"Gail was like the mum I didn't have because my mum passed away four years ago and Gail had never been anything but good and kind to me.

"Ian and Heather were some of the best people I'd ever met. They never did anything wrong to me."

Ian and Heather Wilkinson
Ian and Heather Wilkinson. Picture: social media

Victoria Police Detective Inspector Dean Thomas said: "She hasn't presented with any symptoms but we have to keep an open mind in relation to this, that it could be very innocent but again we just don't know at this point.

"The deaths are currently being treated as "unexplained".He added: "We've seized a number of exhibits in relation to the matter, a lot of the items we have seized will be forensically tested in the hope that they can shed some light on what's occurred.

"We will be working closely with medical experts, toxicologists ... in the hope we can understand exactly what has gone on and provide some answers to the family.

"We're trying to understand who ate what at the lunch, whether that person that did not become ill did or did not eat the mushrooms.

"And of course, we're trying to ascertain what it is that has actually caused the poisoning ... to the four people that attended."