Lauren Dickason trial: Cable ties vs ‘too violent and messy’ shows ‘premeditation’
Two experts testified in the trial, both with differing opinions about the SA mom's mental state when she killed her three girls.
Lauren Dickason is on trial for the alleged murders of her three daughters in September 2021. Pictures: Facebook/LaurenDickason
The murder trial of South African doctor Lauren Dickason was back on track on Monday after proceedings were adjourned last week when a jury member fell ill.
The 42-year-old Dickason has admitted to strangling her three little girls − Liane, six, and two-year-old twins Maya and Karla − with interconnected cable ties before smothering them to death one by one at their Timaru home in Canterbury on 16 September 2021.
She then tucked them in with their soft toys before attempting to take her own life with a knife and pills.
Lauren Dickason: Defence of insanity and infanticide
As the tragic and shocking events of the night of the murders have been playing out in court, Dickason has pleaded not guilty to the triple murder charges and has mounted a defence of insanity or infanticide.
On Monday, her defence lawyer Kerryn Beaton, continued with her cross-examination of forensic psychiatrist expert Dr Simone McLeavey.
NZ Herald reported that McLeavey said while Dickason was a “mentally disordered woman with a vulnerable personality” and had a “limited capacity to manage stress”, she did not believe she was insane at the time of the alleged murders and has no infanticide or insanity defence.
Cable ties not ‘impulsive’
Beaton argued that Dickason’s husband, Graham, bought the cable ties and the mother’s decision to use them was “entirely impulsive”.
Beaton suggested that the first time Dickason formed an idea to kill the children, she did so.
McLeavey said she could not agree with that.
The expert noted Dickason told her that her first idea to kill the children on the night of their deaths was to do so by cutting their arteries − a method she’d previously thought of and disclosed to her husband.
She, however, reconsidered this because it was “too violent and messy” and then chose the cable ties. According to the forensic psychiatrist, she also admitted that she already had thoughts of harming the children − specifically using cable ties − while in South Africa.
McLeavey said all these disclosures, coupled with Dickason’s internet search history of how to overdose children, showed in her opinion that the murders were “premeditated”.
Dickason defence expert: ‘She was not OK’
According to Stuff, the defence’s expert, forensic psychiatrist Dr Justin Barry-Walsh, also took the stand on Monday.
Barry-Walsh said he believed both defences of insanity and infanticide were available to Dickason.
The psychiatrist said that during their interviews, Dickason “conveyed a sense of hopelessness”.
She reportedly said the world was such a mess, “it seemed better if they were dead as well. I was not going to leave them behind… it seemed like the logical thing to do”.
A portion of Barry-Walsh’s report was suppressed.
Dickason reportedly said the family immigrating to New Zealand had been “the biggest mistake they’d made” and that she had told 14 or 15 people “she was not OK”.
The trial continues.