| 23 July 2024, Tuesday |

Australian lethal mushroom mystery survivor leaves hospital

A survivor of a lethal mushroom poisoning that has gripped Australia has been released from hospital, his family say.

Ian Wilkinson had been left in a critical condition after eating a beef Wellington cooked by Erin Patterson.

Three people, including Mr Wilkinson’s wife, died after the meal, which police believe contained death cap mushrooms, which are lethal if ingested.

Ms Patterson, who is not facing charges, has said it was an accident.

Mr Wilkinson left hospital on Friday after almost two months of treatment, according to his family.

“This milestone marks a moment of immense relief and gratitude for Ian and the entire Wilkinson family,” they said in a statement.

It is not yet clear if Mr Wilkinson, a Baptist church pastor, has already spoken to police in hospital or whether he can now shed new light on the case.

The fatal lunch was held in Ms Patterson’s home in the small town of Leongatha, Victoria on 29 July.

Ms Patterson had invited her former in-laws Gail and Don Patterson, along with Gail’s sister Heather Wilkinson and Heather’s husband Ian. Ms Patterson’s estranged husband could not attend at the last minute.

Hours after the meal, all four guests fell ill with what they initially thought was severe food poisoning.

Within days, Heather, 66, Gail, 70, and Don, 70, had died, while Ian, 68, was hospitalised in a critical condition.

Suspicion fell on Ms Patterson because she appeared to remain in good health despite her four guests falling gravely ill.

But she has said it was an accident.

“I am now devastated to think that these mushrooms may have contributed to the illness suffered by my loved ones,” the 48-year-old said last month.

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

Ms Patterson said the mushrooms used to prepare the meal were a mixture of button mushrooms bought at a supermarket, and dried mushrooms purchased at an Asian grocery store in Melbourne several months ago.

Her children, who were not present at the lunch, ate some of the leftover beef Wellington the next day. However the mushrooms had been scraped off the dish as they do not like the fungi, she said.

Ms Patterson said she herself was hospitalised on 31 July. She said she was put on a saline drip and given medication to guard against liver damage.

She said she had also saved and given the remainder of the lunch to hospital toxicologists for examination.

In her statement, she also admitted lying to authorities about a food dehydrator seized by police from a local tip during investigations.