Three people dead after eating poisonous 'death cap' mushrooms served at family lunch

An investigation has been launched on a woman who prepared food for a family lunch, after the death of multiple guests due to suspected poisoning.

Three people dead after eating poisonous 'death cap' mushrooms at dinner party
© Gingagi
Three people dead after eating poisonous 'death cap' mushrooms at dinner party

Though mushrooms are delicious and nutritious, not all species of mushrooms are edible. While some mushrooms aid in skincare routine and even help to alleviate severe depression, there are several poisonous species of mushrooms which are toxic enough to kill you.

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As reported by The Guardian, in a very unfortunate incident, a family lunch where mushrooms were served ended with the death of three diners while a fourth person is in critical condition.

Investigations have now been launched on the person who cooked the food in order to determine if she is culpable of any foul-play. The woman has maintained that she 'did not do anything.'

Police investigating deadly mushroom party

A lunch hosted at a Leongatha home in Victoria’s east on 29 July, became the focal point of a terrible series of events that saw the death of three attendees: 66-year-old Heather Wilkinson, her sister Gail Patterson, 70, and brother-in-law Don Patterson, 70. Heather Wilkinson’s husband, 68-year-old Baptist Church pastor Ian Wilkinson, remained in a critical condition.

As per The Age, all the diners reportedly died after displaying symptoms consistent with poisoning by 'death cap mushrooms,' a deadly species of mushroom which can easily kill an adult human.

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Warnings over deadly mushrooms had been issues in Victoria

Symptoms of poisoning can include diarrhoea, nausea, violent stomach pains and vomiting. Even if symptoms subside, the mushrooms could cause serious liver damage that may result in death if left untreated.

The daughter-in-law of the Pattersons, who prepared the lunch, but showed no symptoms of the poisoning, is now under investigation by Victoria homicide division. The authorities are trying to discern if the poisoning was accidental or it was a deliberate act. She has maintained her innocence stating,

I didn’t do anything. I loved them and I’m devastated they are gone.

Earlier, Victoria had issued warnings to people to be aware of poisonous death cap mushrooms growing in large numbers during the wet season.

Indeed, there have been many previous instances of poisonings by these deadly mushrooms in the region. They can be easily mistaken for harmless and edible mushrooms, and grow in nondescript places such as under oak trees in parks and gardens.

Read more:

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Sources used:

The Guardian: ' Victoria woman who hosted suspected deadly mushroom lunch says ‘I didn’t do anything’'

The Age: '‘I didn’t do anything; I loved them’: How a quiet family lunch turned into a tragedy'

The Guardian: ' Victoria issues urgent health warning against eating death cap and yellow-staining mushrooms'

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