The case of the random lunch, where three Australians have died and a pastor is critically ill is diving a small Victorian town.

The regional community in Victoria’s east is in mourning after three people died from eating poisonous wild mushrooms at a lunch with friends.

Nine News reported that Reverend Ian Wilkinson’s wife, Heather, a local teacher; her sister, Gail Patterson; and husband Don Patterson, died after eating toxic wild mushrooms at lunch with friends, according to police.

Reverend Ian Wilkinson, who is a pastor at Korumburra Baptist Church in Victoria’s Gippsland region, is fighting for life in hospital after also eating the mushrooms and requires a liver transplant.

Police say the two couples were dining at a home in Leongatha, almost two hours south-east of Melbourne.

However, police are now unsure whether they are to treat the deaths as an accident, or a crime, as the situation unfolds by the day.

An emotional Erin Patterson has broken her silence after three people died from eating poisonous mushrooms at her Leongatha home. The dead or sick were fed what police believe were death cap mushrooms on July 29. Death cap mushrooms are so toxic they can cause organ failure. Police are now carrying out forensic testing on a dehydrator that was found at a nearby tip the day after the lunch.

According to, police have not charged Ms Patterson.

Homicide Squad Detective Inspector Dean Thomas said police were still undecided whether they were investigating a crime or an accident.

“We’re working to determine what has gone on, to see if there is any nefarious activity that has occurred or if it was accidental.”

“We have to keep an open mind,” he said.

Ms Patterson was a target because “she cooked those meals,” but Inspector Thomas emphasised it was a “complex case” and “it could be very innocent”.

He said the police were still unsure where the mushrooms had been sourced from.

“We are presuming at this point it is mushrooms,” he said.

“It’s a really interesting case, and at this stage I can say the deaths are really unexplained.

Erin’s ex-husband, Simon Patterson, was due to attend the lunch, but pulled out at the last minute. In a social media post from June 2022, Mr Patterson said he almost died last year from gut problems that left him in intensive care.

In the Facebook post, he revealed his family were asked to say goodbye to him twice in hospital due to fears he would not survive the gut illness, which required three emergency operations.

He has now told that she previously tried to poison him.

Patterson says he reportedly “suspected” his ex-wife Erin had tried to poison him through an “ingested toxin”.

“Simon suspected he had been poisoned by Erin,” a source close to the family told the Herald Sun.

“There were times he had felt … a bit off and it often coincided when he spent time with her.”

Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of to your inbox.