Lauren Dickason searched ‘drugs to overdose kids’ on Google before ‘killing’ her children
A particularly troubling search was made late in August 2021, simply asking for 'drugs to overdose kids'.
South African doctor Laura Dickason with her husband, Graham, and their three girls who were killed on 16 September 2021. Picture: Facebook
The trial of Lauren Dickason, a South African national accused of the murder of her three young children in New Zealand, took a chilling turn on Monday as digital forensic evidence revealed disturbing internet search history months before the alleged killings.
Testifying before the Christchurch High Court, digital forensic analyst Joshua Locke presented evidence that in July and August 2021, Dickason’s phone contained searches that were subsequently deleted, New Zealand publication Stuff reported.
These searches included inquiries into lethal dosages of drugs for children, such as “lethal dosage alprazolam in children” on 31 July, “Ambien lethal dose” on 14 August, and “most effective overdose in children” on 20 August.
A particularly troubling search was made late in August, simply asking for “drugs to overdose kids”.
Dickason is on trial for allegedly strangling her three small daughters with cable ties shortly after the family of five immigrated to New Zealand from Pretoria in 2021.
The 43-year-old doctor is facing three charges for killing her daughters – Liané (6), and twins Maya and Karla (2).
She allegedly strangled the children with cable ties retrieved from the garage after they had been misbehaving.
The incident reportedly occurred while the children’s father was attending a work-related event. When the cable ties method failed, Dickason apparently resorted to using blankets to smother them. Later, she made a suicide attempt using a knife and a drug overdose.
Dickason has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and infanticide, leaving the jury to deliberate whether she was experiencing a “disease of the mind” as a result of childbirth or if she committed the murders in cold blood.
‘Mom needs a minute’
During Monday’s proceedings, the court also examined a video titled “mom needs a minute”, which was sent to Dickason in July 2021 by a friend on WhatsApp.
The video, downloaded from TikTok, depicted a woman venting her struggles with motherhood, expressing feelings of stress and the need for a break. Dickason allegedly replied to the video, saying, “Awesome xxx, that’s exactly how I feel”.
Furthermore, the court reviewed a letter from Dickason’s South African psychiatrist, dated 21 February 2020, addressed to New Zealand immigration.
The letter stated that she had been a patient since 2015, suffering from a major depressive disorder. Despite her illness, the psychiatrist attested that Dickason was able to function well and had never posed a danger to herself or others.
The letter also mentioned that Dickason had been stable on prescribed medications for her condition.
During cross-examination, defense attorney Abbie Hollingworth probed the digital forensic analyst about the deleted searches and questioned if the search history on iPhones was automatically deleted after 30 days, which Locke confirmed.
Hollingworth further highlighted that certain searches, such as one related to poisoning using liquorice, were not included in the final phone analysis report.
Locke explained that he had been instructed to omit it by the officer in charge of the case. The defense pointed out that the search could have been influenced by a television show involving liquorice poisoning, showing how seemingly sinister searches might lack context.
As the trial enters its second week, the court will continue to weigh the evidence presented and decide the fate of Dickason.
The trial resumes on Tuesday.