'This is not Midsomer Murders': Local mayor calls for privacy after Erin Patterson’s deadly mushroom lunch

15 August 2023, 14:21 | Updated: 16 August 2023, 09:37

Nathan Hersey called for privacy
Nathan Hersey called for privacy. Picture: Social media

By Kit Heren

The mayor of a town where three people died after eating a poison mushroom lunch has called for privacy for his residents.

South Gippsland Mayor Nathan Hersey said: "This is not Midsomer Murders."

"This is Korumburra, this is people's lives," he said, referring to the town within South Gippsland where the meal took place.

It comes as Ian Wilkinson, the only only person to survive eating the allegedly poisoned beef wellington, which was served by Erin Patterson in Leongatha, Australia on July 29, remains in a critical condition in hospital as he waits for a liver transplant.

Ms Patterson, who is a person of interest in the investigation, hosted the lunch attended by her former in-laws, Gail and Don Patterson, and Gail’s sister Heather Wilkinson, and her husband Ian.

Erin's ex-husband Simon Patterson was expected to attend the lunch as well but pulled out at the last minute.

After eating the meal, her guests became violently ill. Gail, 70, Heather, 66, and Don, 70 all died.

A paramedic passed the final words of one of the people who died onto police, although the details have not been made public.

Ms Patterson denies any responsibility.

Read more: Woman at centre of 'poisonous' mushroom deaths admits lying to police about dumping kitchen gadget

Read more: Sole survivor of Erin Patterson’s deadly beef wellington mushroom lunch ‘holds the key to what happened’

Erin Patterson  is alleged to have served relatives a poisonous mushroom lunch
Erin Patterson is alleged to have served relatives a poisonous mushroom lunch. Picture: Social Media
Simon Patterson
Simon Patterson. Picture: social media

Ian, 68, is being treated at the Austin Hospital in Melbourne with traumatic injuries to his liver. He is reportedly awaiting a liver transplant and is in critical condition - but sources say he will ‘likely survive’ after being taken to the hospital which specialises in treating poisoning victims.

A source told Daily Mail Australia that he was not taken to the Alfred hospital - a decision that likely saved his life.

“The main intensive care unit, and you need the best, you go to The Alfred or Royal Melbourne. The state's poison centre is at the Austin, so that's why he's gone there,” the source said.

Transplant organs are not generally supplied unless they are certain the patient will wake up, the source added.

“You don't want to waste one. You're not going to give one to someone who is odds-on not to make it,” he said. 

Ian and Heather Wilkinson
Ian and Heather Wilkinson. Picture: Social Media

Ms Patterson gave a long written statement to police - describing how she also became unwell after eating the meal, with her ex-husband, Simon Patterson accusing her of poisoning his parents.

Police are examining CCTV from a landfill site as they search for a food dehydrator, which Erin Patterson admitted dumping at a landfill site after her guests fell ill.

In her statement to police, she said she served the email and invited guests to choose their own plates. She took the last serving and ate the meal too.

Her children at the meal the next day but said they scraped the mushrooms off first as they do not like them.

The remainder of the meal has been preserved and was given to hospital toxicologists for examination.

She told police that the mushrooms were a mixture of button mushrooms bought from a supermarket and dried mushrooms bought from an Asian supermarket.

“I now very much regret not answering some questions ... given the nightmare that this process has become,” the statement adds.

“I am now wanting to clear up the record because I have become extremely stressed and overwhelmed by the deaths of my loved ones.

“I am hoping this statement might help in some way. I believe if people understood the background more, they would not be so quick to rush to judgement.

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

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