A MUM who cooked a poisonous mushroom meal that left three dead has admitted lying to cops about dumping a food dehydrator at a tip.
Erin Patterson, 48, invited Gail and Don Patterson, her former in-laws, and Gail's sister Heather Wilkinson and her husband Ian to her home in Leongatha, Australia.
The mum-of-two reportedly held the deadly gathering on July 29 in a bid to try and win back her estranged ex-husband Simon Patterson.
But after eating the meal, the guests became violently ill and Gail and Don, both 70, and Heather, 66, later died.
Ian has been in hospital fighting for his life since eating the deadly beef Wellington served by Erin.
Cops said the people who died had symptoms of having eaten death cap mushrooms – and last week confirmed Erin was being treated as a suspect.
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In a written statement sent to cops on Friday – and obtained by the ABC – Erin gave her first detailed account of what happened before and after the fatal lunch.
She revealed she was hospitalised after the lunch with bad stomach pains and diarrhoea, put on a saline drip and given a "liver protective drug".
And the mum-of-two admitted lying to cops when she told them she had dumped a food dehydrator at a local tip "a long time ago" – which was later seized by cops.
Erin said she was at the hospital with her kids "discussing the food dehydrator" when her ex-husband asked: "Is that what you used to poison them?"
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Worried she might lose custody of the couple's children, Erin said she then panicked and dumped the dehydrator at the tip.
Erin outlined the events of the fateful day for the first time in her statement.
She said she served the meal and allowed the guests to choose their own plates – and she also ate a portion of the beef wellington herself.
The mushrooms were a mixture of button mushrooms from a major supermarket chain, and dried mushrooms from an Asian grocery store in Melbourne months before, she added.
ABC said she didn't provide any more information about the grocery store.
Erin said she was taken by ambulance from the Leongatha Hospital to the Monash Medical Centre in Melbourne on July 31.
Gippsland Southern Health Service confirmed a fifth person came to Leongatha Hospital on July 30 with suspected food poisoning.
As her guests fell ill, Erin said she was contacted by the Department of Health and asked about the deadly meal.
She said she kept some of the lunch and gave it to toxicologists for examination.
And despite reports of her children being at the meal, Erin said the kids had gone to the movies before the lunch.
Her children ate the leftovers the following night – but the kids don't like mushrooms so she scraped them off, she said.
Erin said: "I am now wanting to clear up the record because I have become extremely stressed and overwhelmed by the deaths of my loved ones.
"I am hoping this statement might help in some way.
"I believe if people understood the background more, they would not be so quick to rush to judgement.
"I am now devastated to think that these mushrooms may have contributed to the illness suffered by my loved ones.
"I really want to repeat that I had absolutely no reason to hurt these people whom I loved."
Erin said she was advised to give a "no comment" interview to police immediately after the deaths.
"I now very much regret not answering some questions following this advice given the nightmare that this process has become," she said.
Erin said she found the interview "terrifying and anxiety-provoking".
The mum also confirmed that her ex-husband, Simon, had planned to join the fatal lunch but told her "prior to the day" that he would not be coming.
She paid tribute to her former parents-in-law – and said she had been close to them for a long time.
"I had been close with Simon's parents for a long period of time. Our relationship had continued in a fairly amicable way after I finished the relationship with their son Simon," she said.
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"Our relationship was affected to some degree by seeing them less after my marriage breakdown with Simon however I have never felt differently towards his parents.
"I had a deep love and respect for Simon's parents and had encouraged my children to spend time with their grandparents as I believed they were exceptional role models."
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