Ex-husband of woman who served ‘fatal’ meal ‘suspected she had poisoned him’
The ex-husband of the woman who served a meal which allegedly proved fatal to three of her guests “suspected” to have been previously poisoned by his now-former partner, a source has claimed.
Investigators haven’t yet unravelled the mystery surrounding the death earlier this month of three people who had previously been guests for lunch at Erin Patterson’s home, a 48-year-old Australian – who has denied any wrongdoing.
Her former spouse, Simon Patterson, has since reportedly made a concerning claim about an unknown gut illness which almost killed him in May last year.
A source described as close to the family claimed the Herald Sun: “Simon suspected he had been poisoned by Erin.
“There were times he had felt… a bit off and it often coincided when he spent time with her.”
READ MORE: Man dodges deadly mushroom lunch organised by ex-wife
Mr Patterson had previously recalled his mystery illness and the ordeal he went through on a social media post.
He wrote: “I collapsed at home, then was in an induced coma for 16 days through which I had three emergency operations mainly on my small intestine, plus an additional planned operation.
“My family were asked to come and say goodbye to me twice, as I was not expected to live. I was in intensive care for 21 days…”
Mr and Ms Patterson are separated, but their split has been described as “amicable”.
The death of three of Ms Patterson’s guests happened a few days after she had invited them for lunch at her home in Leongatha, Victoria, on July 29.
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Among the attendees were Gail and Don Patterson, who were Ms Patterson’s former in-laws, Gail’s sister Heather Wilkinson and her husband Reverend Ian Wilkinson. They all ate the same meal, which allegedly contained poisonous mushrooms.
Ms Patterson’s children were also present but ate a different meal than the one served to the guests.
By midnight the following day, all four guests started experiencing symptoms resembling food poisoning.
Despite receiving medical care, Mr and Mrs Patterson and Mrs Wilkinson died a few days later in hospital, while Reverend Wilkinson remains hospitalised in critical condition.
Ms Patterson, who hasn’t suffered any symptoms following that July lunch, is a suspect in the investigation launched since into the incident, but hasn’t been charged and maintains to have done nothing wrong.
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Police, still unsure whether Ms Patterson ate the same meal as her guests, have seized a number of items from the host’s home, including a food dehydrator.
On Monday, Ms Patterson spoke tearfully about her late relatives and how much affection she had for them as she denied any wrongdoing.
Speaking outside of her home, she said: “The loss to the community and to the families and my own children who have lost their grandmother… I just can’t fathom what has happened. I’m so sorry that they have lost their lives. I just can’t believe it.”
Victoria Police Detective Inspector Dean Thomas said the people who died presented symptoms consistent with eating death cap mushrooms – highly toxic fungi responsible for most mushroom-related fatalities.
As he stressed the deaths may be the result of a tragic accident, the officer added: “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.”
He continued: “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.”
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