Mushroom deaths were accidental says cook

The Australian woman who prepared beef wellington with mushrooms, which resulted in the deaths of three family members and the critical condition of one, told police it was an accident.

Local media report that Erin Patterson, who is not facing prosecution, has provided police with a statement of events.

The police believe that the victims consumed death cap mushrooms, which are extremely lethal if consumed. Ms. Patterson stated in her statement that she had consumed some desiccated mushrooms without realizing they were poisonous.

The 48-year-old stated, "I am devastated by the probability that these mushrooms contributed to the illness my loved ones endured and I would like to reiterate that I had no reason to harm these individuals whom I love." 

Australia has been captivated by the mystery surrounding the fatal lunch held at Ms. Patterson's residence in the small Victorian town of Leongatha on July 29.

Ms. Patterson invited her ex-in-laws Gail and Don Patterson, as well as Gail's sister Heather Wilkinson and her spouse Ian.

Her estranged spouse was unable to attend at the last minute. All four guests became ill hours after the supper with what they initially believed to be severe food poisoning.

Heather, 66, Gail, 70, and Don, 70, all passed away within days. Ian, 68, is still battling for his life in a hospital in Melbourne as he waits for a liver transplant. Ms. Paterson was designated as a suspect after the deaths, despite the fact that she and her children initially appeared to be unharmed by the meal.

The Australian authorities stated at the time that she could be completely innocent. In a statement released on Monday, Ms. Patterson reaffirmed her innocence and stated that she herself had been hospitalized following the meal due to stomach symptoms.

Ms. Patterson asserted her innocence to reporters outside her home in the immediate aftermath of the incident, but she refused to answer questions about what meals were served to which visitors or where the mushrooms originated.

In her statement to police, she said, "I deeply regret not answering some queries per my attorney's advice, given the nightmare that this process has become." "I now wish to clear the record because the deaths of my loved ones have left me feeling extremely anxious and overwhelmed."

Ms. Patterson stated that the mushrooms used in the preparation of the entrée were a combination of button mushrooms purchased from a grocery store and dried mushrooms purchased from an Asian grocery store in Melbourne several months prior.

Her children, who were absent from the picnic, consumed some leftover beef Wellington the following day. She stated that the mushrooms had been removed from the dish because they disliked them.

Ms. Patterson stated that she was hospitalized on July 31. She reported receiving a saline drip and medication to prevent liver injury.

She stated that she had also preserved and provided the remaining lunch to hospital toxicologists for analysis.

In her statement, she also admitted to having lied to officials about a food dehydrator that police seized from a local landfill last week. She claimed her estranged husband had asked her if she had poisoned his parents, causing her to panic and dispose of the dehydrator out of fear of losing custody of their children.