A paramedic who held a final call with one of the three diners who died after eating a mushroom lunch is understood to have passed the details on to police.
Erin Patterson, 48, invited Gail and Don Patterson, her former in-laws, as well as Gail’s sister, Heather Wilkinson, and her husband, Ian, to her home in Leongatha, Australia.
But after diners ate the Wellington beef she prepared on July 29, they became seriously ill.
Gail and Don, both 70, and Heather, 66, later died while Ian fought for his life in hospital.
A source close to the case has now claimed an ambulance worker alerted investigators after speaking to one of the victims, the reports Herald Sun.
They heard one of the guest’s last words and felt the need to tell police what was said, the insider said.
Nothing was released about the details of the conversation.
Police officers said the deceased had signs of eating death cap mushrooms, which grow wild in the lush forests surrounding Leongatha.
Police confirmed last week that Erin was being treated as a suspect – but warned the incident could be “very innocent”.
Sources said she held the gathering to try and win back her estranged ex-husband, Simon Patterson.
In a written statement sent to police on Friday, Erin – who denies any wrongdoing – gave her first account of what happened before and after the fatal luncheon.
She said she served the food and allowed guests to choose their own plates – and she also ate some of the Beef Wellington herself.
The mushrooms are a mix of button mushrooms from a major supermarket chain and dried mushrooms from an Asian grocery store in Melbourne that were available months earlier, she added.
She claimed she was taken to the hospital after lunch with severe stomach pains and diarrhea, put on a saline drip and given a “liver-protecting drug”, although initial reports say she did not get sick.
And the mother-of-two admitted to lying to police when she told them she “a long time ago” parked a dehydrator at a local landfill – which was later confiscated by police.
Erin said she was in the hospital with her kids “talking about the dehydrator” when her ex-husband asked, “Did you poison her with that?”
Fearful of losing custody of the couple’s children, she panicked and dumped the dehydrator in the dump, Erin said.
When her guests fell ill, Erin said she was contacted by the Department of Health and asked about the fatal meal.
She said she kept part of the lunch and gave it to the toxicologist to examine.
Erin said, “I want to clean up the record now because I’m extremely stressed and overwhelmed by the death of my loved ones.”
“I hope that this statement could be of some help.
“I think if people understood the background better, they wouldn’t be so hasty in their judgments.
“Now I’m devastated to think that these fungi could have contributed to my loved one’s illness.
“I really want to reiterate that I had absolutely no reason to hurt these people I loved.”