The woman at the centre of a suspected fatal mushroom poisoning that killed three people has shed new light on the day of the fatal meal, including that she gave leftovers to the police for testing.
Erin Patterson allegedly cooked the dish containing the deadly death cap mushrooms on July 29, serving it to four people at a lunch at her home in Leongatha, southeast of Melbourne.
Her former parents-in-law Don and Gail Patterson and her sister Heather Wilkinson died from symptoms consistent with death cap mushroom poisoning after the lunch.
Ms Wilkinson’s husband, Ian, is still in hospital.
Erin, 48, has been questioned by police since the trio’s deaths.
On Monday, a new detailed statement about what happened before and after the suspected poisoning was revealed.
“I am now wanting to clear up the record because I have become extremely stressed and overwhelmed by the deaths of my loved ones,” Erin said in a written statement to police obtained by the ABC.
“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 judgment.”
Simon Patterson, Erin’s ex-husband, did not attend the meal when invited.
In the latest statement, Erin said she too became ill after eating the beef wellington dish.
She explained that she had given leftovers of the dish to police as evidence, The Age reports.
She said the fungi used in the dish were a mixture of button mushrooms bought at a supermarket chain and dried ones from an Asian grocery store in Melbourne months prior.
The Gippsland Southern Health Service (GSHS) has been contacted for comment.
“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,” she said in her new statement.
“I now very much regret not answering some (police) questions following this advice given the nightmare that this process has become.”
Erin refuted notions that her children were present at the time of the meal, stating they had actually gone to the movies.
They ate the leftovers from the lunch the following night.
Erin said her children did not like mushrooms, so she “scraped” them off.
In her statement, she claimed that she was contacted by the Department of Health asking what could have caused her guests’ violent reactions.
Erin said she initially dumped a food dehydrator at a local tip because she “panicked” over the thought that she could lose custody of her children, according to the ABC.
She paid tribute to her in-laws, stating she had a “deep love and respect for them” and believed they were “exceptional” role models for her children.