The son of Don and Gail Patterson - the couple who died after eating a fatal mushroom lunch in Australia - has revealed his mother’s last text message as the couple were farewelled today.
According to news.com.au, at least 350 people packed into the Korumburra Recreation Centre in Victoria this afternoon to farewell the pair.
During the service, Simon Patterson read the last message his mum had written in her family group chat as she lay dying in hospital.
“It was no fluke that mum’s final text message on our family group chat as she lay in Dandenong Hospital was: ‘Lots of love to you all’,” Simon said.
“The fact they died on consecutive days is fitting in some ways, as it reflects their togetherness as a couple that they always worked so hard to grow.”
The poisonous mushroom case has gripped Australia during the past few months.
On July 29, Erin Patterson cooked a beef wellington lunch at her home in Victoria for her former in-laws Don and Gail Patterson, along with Gail’s sister Heather Wilkinson and her husband Ian Wilkinson.
However, the lunch turned deadly when Don, Gail and Heather all died after eating the meal, which allegedly contained death cap mushrooms.
Simon had also been invited but could not attend.
Meanwhile, Ian, a pastor at nearby Korumburra Baptist Church, remains gravely ill in hospital awaiting a liver transplant.
While police have only said Erin Patterson is a person of interest and haven’t suggested she tried intentionally poisoning her in-laws, experienced psychologist Tim Watson-Munro said there are a number of bizarre elements that need to be investigated.
Speaking to The Australian, Watson-Munro, who has worked on catching some of Australia’s biggest criminal offenders, stated: “I’m not a big believer in coincidences.”
‘Wilfully poisoned or just bad luck’
Simon Patterson spent 21 days in intensive care in 2022 after collapsing from a mystery stomach illness at his home, where his friends and family were told to come to say goodbye in case he died.
The Herald Sun reported a family friend said Simon felt “a bit off” and his illnesses “often coincided [with] when he spent time with her [Erin]”.
In a police statement regarding July’s deaths, Erin Patterson also questioned herself as to whether she poisoned Simon’s parents and aunty.
“Obviously, he was either wilfully poisoned or it was just bad luck,” Watson-Munro told The Australian.
Watson-Munro isn’t convinced by Erin Patterson’s statement in which she claimed she purchased the mushrooms at an unnamed Asian supermarket.
In his view, he believes her claim sounds “ludicrous” because death cap mushrooms are not commercial products.
He said: “People just don’t retail them. It’s not that loose.”
Erin Patterson revealed in a follow-up statement to police that her children were not present at the lunch, despite initial reports they were.
She claimed they were at the movies but ate leftovers of the meal the following day.
Another controversial part of the case is the details surrounding the dumping of a food dehydrator.
A police statement by Erin Patterson was reportedly leaked to the media, revealing she became unwell after eating the meal.
She admitted she dumped a dehydrator she used to prepare the meal at a nearby tip soon afterwards because she was in a panic.
However, she admitted lying to police about how long ago she disposed of the food dehydrator.
She told them she dumped it there a “long time ago” before revealing she did it after her guests fell ill.
She now claims she was at the hospital with her children “discussing the food dehydrator” when her estranged husband, Simon Patterson, asked: “Is that what you used to poison them?”
The investigation is continuing.