‘Loving mother’ Lauren Dickason tucked children in with soft toys after killing them – lawyer
Dickason struggled with being a mother of her three children, a court in New Zealand heard on Monday.
A cross, a teddy bear and flowers were placed outside The Wilds where the Dickason family lived in Pretoria before relocating to New Zealand. Photo: Gallo Images/Beeld/Deaan Vivier
The gruesome details of how a South African doctor allegedly killed her three children a few days after moving to New Zealand in 2021, have emerged.
The trial against Lauren Dickason got underway at the High Court in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Monday, nearly four months the case had been initially scheduled to start.
Dickason is facing three charges for killing her daughters – Liané, 6, and twins Maya and Karla, aged 2.
‘Kids killed the passion, happiness’
During proceedings, the court heard how Dickason struggled with being a mother of her three children due to mental health struggles, New Zealand Herald reported.
The accused also “harboured resentment and anger” towards her kids because they got in the way of her relationship with her husband, Graham Dickason.
“Three kids has really killed all the passion and a lot of the happiness,” she reportedly told one of her friends in a text message.
It was also heard that Dickason had prior thoughts about killing her children despite having a miscarriage before giving birth to Liané and going through several rounds of in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
According to cellphone records, the 42-year-old searched for information on the internet about how to overdose children.
Dickason, who has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and infanticide, murdered the kids at home in Timaru, while their father was at a work-related event on the evening of 16 September.
She allegedly strangled the children with cable ties retrieved from the garage after they had been misbehaving.
“Around 20 minutes later the defendant went into the garage and retrieved a packet of cable ties.
“The defendant got the children together in a bedroom and told them that they were going to make necklaces,” state prosecutor Andrew McRae reportedly told the court on Monday.
However, Dickason used blankets to smother them when the cable method failed and later attempted to take her own life using a knife and an overdose of drugs.
Graham returned home just before 10pm to find his wife disorientated in the kitchen and then found his kids unresponsive in their beds.
Thereafter, the mother was rushed to hospital after emergency services were called by Graham’s colleague who had rushed to the Timaru home.
According to McRae, Dickason woke up and claimed that she was “in shock and horror and surprised to be alive”.
Dickason’s lawyer, Kerryn Beaton, in an opening statement painted her client as a “loving mother” who had gone through difficult periods in life and was “not a bad person”.
“And yet she killed them … and it was violent and it was prolonged. But afterwards she put them in their beds, tucked them in with their soft toys.
“This is brutal and confronting. You will be rightly shocked and horrified… but the truth is that Lauren Dickason… wanted those children very much and she loved her family,” the lawyer told the court.
Beaton defended Dickason, saying she was suffering a severe mental breakdown at the time of the murders.
She also rejected the prosecution’s version of what happened.
“If she just wanted more time with her husband, then why try and kill herself? Lauren was in such a dark place, so removed from reality, so disordered in her thinking… that when she decided to kill herself that night she thought she had to take the girls with her.”