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Police break silence on mushroom cook's leaked statement that revealed she lied to them

Police break silence on mushroom cook's leaked statement that revealed she lied to them

She admitted she lied to police, but has denied causing harm to her family

Police have broken their silence on comments made by Erin Patterson after she admitted she lied about details surrounding the death of three people who had eaten her food.

Ms Patterson, from Victoria, Australia, recently invited former in-laws Gail and Don Patterson, both 70, as well as Ms Patterson's sister, Heather Wilkinson, 66, and her husband Reverend Ian Wilkinson, 68, to her home for a meal, cooking the group beef wellington using dried mushrooms.

Tragedy struck when all four guests fell ill, with Mrs Wilkinson and Mrs Patterson both passing away on 5 August, followed by Mr Patterson the following day.

Mr Wilkinson is still in hospital and is said to be in critical condition while he awaits a liver transplant, while Ms Patterson and her two kids did not fall ill.

Since then, police have been investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths, which are believed to have been due to mushroom poisoning.

Following news that police had recovered a food dehydrator from the local tip, Ms Patterson admitted that she lied to police, having previously claimed she had thrown the gadget out ‘a long time ago’.

Erin Patterson denied any wrongdoing.
Nine News

Ms Patterson told the police that she was at the hospital with her children 'discussing the food dehydrator' when her ex-husband is said to have asked: "Is that what you used to poison them?"

Terrified she may lose her kids, Ms Patterson said she went and threw the dehydrator out.

Victoria Police have now issued a statement of their own on the matter, with Deputy Police Commissioner Wendy Steendam saying Ms Patterson’s comments may have hindered the investigation.

“The matter needs to be dealt with by [the police, not the media],” Steendam told ABC Radio Melbourne, adding that Ms Patterson’s lengthy statement had been widely circulated before the police force could take a look at it properly.

She also explained that Ms Patterson’s comments did not serve as an official police statement, as it was just one taken by her lawyers.

Steendam said: “What I would say is that … working on an investigation through the media is unhelpful to our investigation.

Don and Gail Patterson.
Family handout

"The matter needs to be dealt with by us, looked at [by] us, and determined by us thoroughly what's actually occurred, and using the evidence that we have to determine and understand exactly what's happened and if we can explain what caused the deaths.”

Steendam said the investigation remains ongoing, continuing: “I understand the interest and the desire to have more information about this, but given it's an active investigation … I am limited in what I actually can say about the matter, except to say, it's not going to be quick.

“This needs to be investigated thoroughly. We're working with the health department, and we will take as much time as needed to understand what's occurred and whether or not there are matters that we need to further investigate.”

In her statement, Ms Patterson denied causing harm to her family.

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

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

Featured Image Credit: Nine

Topics: Australia, Erin Patterson, World News, Crime