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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor


Lauren Dickason wants to ‘return to SA and die’ to be reunited with kids

Mom prayed for death 'every night' to be 'with my girls' again


Forensic psychiatrist Justin Barry-Walsh continued to give evidence on Tuesday, 8 August, in the High Court in Christchurch, New Zealand, where South African mother Lauren Dickason’s triple homicide trial is in its fourth week.

According to NZ Herald, Dickason told Barry-Walsh, who is the the defence’s expert,  she “prayed every night she would not wake up in the morning”.

Lauren Dickason just ‘wants to go home and die’

“She said she just wanted to go home and die… she said it would be easier on her family and she could be ‘with my girls’ whose remains are in South Africa,” she said.

“That is the final thing to happen in this nightmare.

Dickason said it was “horrible and ugly dealing with the court case” which “led to it all coming up”.

She told Barry-Walsh: “I am missing my girls so much”.

Girls ‘better off dead’

She said she “would give everything” to change what happened but sometimes still felt the little girls were “better off” dead.

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.

The former South African doctor has pleaded not guilty to murder. She claimed she was severely mentally disturbed at the time and did not know what she was doing was morally wrong, and she should not be held criminally responsible.

lauren dickason murder trial
Lauren Dickason is on trial for the alleged murders of her three daughters in September 2021. Photos: Facebook/ LaurenDickason

Crown experts: No motivation for insanity, infanticide defence

On Monday, her defence lawyer Kerryn Beaton, continued with her cross-examination of forensic psychiatrist expert Dr Simone McLeavey.

NZ Herald reported 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.

ALSO READ: Dickason murder trial: Court hears ‘alienated’ mom labelled murders ‘a package deal’

‘Premeditated’

She said the murders were “premeditated” and not “entirely impulsive”, as argued by Beaton.

The expert said Dickason told her that her first idea to kill the children on the night of their deaths was to do so by cutting their femoral arteries.

She, however, chose the cable ties in the end as the method was “too violent and messy”.

Dickason ‘did not suffer from postpartum depression’

McCleavy’s opinion echoes that of top forensic psychiatrist Dr Erik Monasterio, who became involved with the case in October 2021 when Dickason was sent for a mental evaluation after her arrest, Stuff reported.

He told the court, in his opinion Dickason does not have an insanity or infanticide defence.

Monasterio argued earlier in the trial that Dickason did not suffer from postpartum depression. According to him, she battled depression since she was 15 and therefore could not claim her “disease of the mind” was connected to childbirth.

Defence expert: Dickason’s thoughts ‘could be described as psychosis’

According to Stuff,  Barry-Walsh said Dickason’s comments about wanting to harm the children were a feature of her postpartum depression.

He believed any person who thought their children were better off dead in the context of depression could be considered delusional, and that Dickason’s thoughts had “moved to the point that could be described as psychosis”.

Infanticide as defence under NZ law

Under New Zealand law, infanticide operates both as a stand-alone offence and as a partial defence to murder or manslaughter, according to NZ Herald.

Infanticide is defined in the Crimes Act 1961 as a woman causing the death of any child of hers under the age of 10 where at the time of the offence “the balance of her mind was disturbed”.

In other countries infanticide applies to children under the age of one, but in New Zealand it’s extended to kids under 10 due to varying takes on the effects of postpartum depression

That disturbance can be caused by:

  • The woman “not having fully recovered from the effect of giving birth to that or any other child”;
  • By reason of the effect of lactation;
  • Or by reason of any disorder consequent upon childbirth or lactation, to such an extent she should not be held fully responsible.

Should the jury rule infanticide as the reason for the deaths, Dickason could be sentenced to just three years in jail. If they believe the prosecution’s version, she could be incarcerated for life.

The trial continues.

NOW READ: Lauren Dickason trial: Consequences of cable tie marks meant ‘no turning back’

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