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Sole survivor of Erin Patterson’s fatal mushroom lunch appears in high spirits as he leads Good Friday service

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The sole survivor of the deadly mushroom lunch dished up by accused triple-murderer Erin Patterson appeared in good spirits as he led the Good Friday service at his local church. 

Ian Wilkinson, 70, lost his his wife Heather, 66, her sister, Gail Patterson, and brother-in-law, Don Patterson, both 70, as the result of a lunch laced with toxic mushrooms served at Erin Patterson’s Leongatha home in eastern Victoria last July 29.

In contrast to the emotional service he conducted in February when first resuming his role as pastor at the Korumburra Baptist Church, Mr Wilkinson appeared cheerful.

‘It’s a good day for Good Friday, (the support from the church) has been great. Have a great day,’ he told the congregation according to the Herald Sun

Erin Patterson’s estranged husband Simon, who was meant to attend the fateful lunch but pulled out at the last minute, was among the small congregation. 

Ian Wilkinson appeared in high spirits as he led a Good Friday service at the Korumburra Baptist Church today (pictured a service in February at the church)

Ian Wilkinson appeared in high spirits as he led a Good Friday service at the Korumburra Baptist Church today (pictured a service in February at the church)

Mr Wilkinson was the sole survivor of a deadly mushroom lunch held at the home of Erin Patterson on July 29, 2023. Pictured is Korumburra Baptist Church in eastern Victoria

Mr Wilkinson was the sole survivor of a deadly mushroom lunch held at the home of Erin Patterson on July 29, 2023. Pictured is Korumburra Baptist Church in eastern Victoria

Mr Wilkinson did not learn of the deaths of his dining companions until he awoke from an induced coma several weeks after the lunch. 

When he took to the pulpit again in February he tearfully spoke of how God had sustained him since ‘Heather, Gail and Don went to be with the Lord’.

‘The way is sometimes hard but God is good and he is with us,’ said Mr Wilkinson as his wavered and he battled to keep back tears.

‘He promised never to leave or forsake us and I can say that is true.’ 

Mr Wilkinson revealed he would have celebrated his 45th wedding anniversary with his wife Heather that week, who died in hospital just days after the lunch. 

He reportedly told the congregation it had been a ‘pretty big week’.

‘At the start of the week, it was six months since Heather and Gail and Don went to be with the Lord,’ Mr Wilkinson said.

‘And yesterday was our 45th wedding anniversary, so it’s been a pretty big week, but I am grateful for all that God has given me, God has done through me.’

The pastor, who has spent 25 years at the church, jokingly asked the congregation if they remembered a Bible teaching series that was ‘cut short’ last year. 

‘Does anybody remember our series on Genesis that we began last year?’ he asked. 

‘Has anybody got any vague memories of that? It was dramatically cut short half way through Genesis chapter two.’

Ian Wilkinson is pictured with his wife Heather, who died a few days after the mushroom lunch

Ian Wilkinson is pictured with his wife Heather, who died a few days after the mushroom lunch

Erin Patterson has been charged with three counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder after serving. She is due to next appear in court on April 22

Erin Patterson has been charged with three counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder after serving. She is due to next appear in court on April 22 

Ms Patterson, 49, will appear in Latrobe Valley Magistrates’ Court via video link on April 22, where she will formally enter a plea to three counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder.

She is accused of intentionally including poisonous mushrooms in a beef Wellington served at the lunch.

Ms Patterson has told police the mushrooms were button mushrooms from a local supermarket chain and dried mushrooms, which she bought months earlier from an Asian grocer in the Mount Waverley area, but couldn’t recall which one. 

Victoria Police have spent 20 weeks preparing a brief of evidence against Ms Patterson who was arrested at her home on November 2.

She is currently behind bars in Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, where sources say she requires protection from other inmates due to her alleged crime. 



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