There has been surpassing interest in the media about the mushroom poisoning case in rural Victoria. Erin Patterson prepared beef wellington for a lunch with her former parents-in-law Don and Gail Patterson, and Gail’s sister Heather Wilkinson and her husband, Ian. Three of her elderly guests are dead and the fourth, Ian Wilkinson, remains in a critical condition in hospital. Their symptoms fit consumption of death cap mushrooms. Beef wellington is fillet of beef coated in a paste made of mushrooms, then wrapped in pastry. Here’s just one article about the case.
If the poisoning was deliberate Erin Patterson is the obvious suspect. But the deaths might have been the result of a terrible mistake, there is apparently no evidence to the contrary, and she has not been charged.
Erin Patterson deserves the assumption of innocence and she also deserves her privacy. I recently read an article about her conviction for a drink-driving incident that happened 19 years ago. It has nothing to do with the events surrounding the deaths of the three elderly people. It smacks to me of paparazzi-type behaviour, following victims around to write up a story.
In similar vein, Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is being hounded by the press while she is on a two-week holiday in Italy with her partner. There’s talk about replacing her as premier as her popularity plummets and the election next October looms just below the horizon. But I don’t think that justifies following the poor woman around the streets to capture a candid, casual moment with the boyfriend. The media tries to justify this sort of thing because of the political angle but I think it’s the sort of thing you’d see in the Daily Mail or the Sun.
For what it’s worth, I’m expecting she’ll bail out, just like NZ’s Jacinda Adern. That way, she leaves at a date of her choice, instead of being kicked out at the next election.
Apart from that, the date has been announced for the Voice referendum, 14th October. So, for the next six weeks we’ll see little else on the news broadcasts. It’s like an election campaign only worse.
As we move towards Spring, those of you in the Northern Hemisphere are welcoming Autumn. Here’s a few photos I took in a European Autumn.
Cottage illustration via Midjourney,