'I have already forgiven her:' Graham Dickason after wife's arrest for alleged filicide

23 September 2021 - 11:37

“I have already forgiven her and I urge you, at your own time, to do the same.” These were the words of Graham Dickason, read out by Rev Alan Cummins during a candlelight vigil in Timaru, New Zealand.

The orthopaedic surgeon, formerly of Pretoria, discovered his twin daughters Maya and Karla, 2, and Liana, 6, dead in their NZ home last week. His wife Lauren, a doctor in the same field of medicine, was arrested and is facing a charge of murder.

In a tribute letter read out during a vigil on Thursday, Dickason said: “Dear people of Timaru, my words are few at the moment. On Thursday the 16th of September 2021, my life and Lauren's was turned upside down when our three precious angels were ripped away from us.

“It is a loss that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”

Hundreds of people gathered at the candlelight vigil in Timaru to honour the three sisters. The vigil, planned by Hampers of Hope founder Jacqueline Harris, was held outside the family’s home on Queen Street, in Timaru.

Masked mourners holding candles, young and old, were in attendance. Flowers and teddy bears lined the front of the residential complex, with a pink picture board of the children.

Dickason thanked “the people of Timaru, New Zealanders, South Africans and many from all over the world” for the love and support shown to him.

“My faith in humanity has been restored, I thank you all. In this time of terrible tragedy and adversity, I can only ask for prayer for myself, my family and my friends.

“Pray for strength and for healing, please also pray for my lovely Lauren, as I honestly believe that she is a victim of this tragedy as well. People who know her well will testify to that, I have no doubt,” he said.

'I'm blessed,' Lauren Dickason shared on Facebook in November 2020, when the family were celebrating the twins' birthday.
'I'm blessed,' Lauren Dickason shared on Facebook in November 2020, when the family were celebrating the twins' birthday.
Image: Lauren Dickason/Facebook
We will hear your voices no more.
Children's grandparents

Dickason said he has already forgiven his wife: “It is the key to healing to this loss we have all experienced.”

“For the people touched and affected by this, look after yourselves, look after your wives, your husbands, your partners, look after your children. For those with faith in Jesus Christ, hold on to that. For the parents with young kids (children), remember them, remember to let them run free, remember to let them play wild, allow them to laugh as much as they can and they are never too young to be introduced to Jesus. I thank you for your love and support,” he said.

A glimpse into a previously happy family

Dickason's sisters and mother from SA also sent a tribute that was read out at the vigil.

“Same as you, we are all at this time struggling to comprehend how and why this happened. The girls were much loved by us all.

“Liana was a typical big sister, always holding hands with and cuddling her siblings.  Maya was our little bag lady. Always getting dolls and toys to carry them around in her little bags. Karla was the brave one - she didn’t have the best start in life but she overcame it and ended up developing into a daring explorer and a puzzle builder,” said the family.

The family said though they had felt very close to Graham through their constant communication, “this week the distance between us has felt so great”.

“Looking back we are all thankful that we had the opportunity to all be together when our father died last year. We know that his heart would have been broken at this news, and take comfort that he is now united with those little angels, taking very good care of them.”

The family said the support has been overwhelming during this “darkest time”.

“We have all been incredibly touched at how this community has come together to support our brother, even so, he is new to your country, he has only sought so many relationships with the few of you.

“We ask that you keep us all, in particular Graham and Lauren, in your prayers,” said his sisters and mother.

A note attributed to the grandparents said of the children: “My darling angels, we wish we could see you one more time, come walking through my door, but we know that you have just passed away.

“We will hear your voices no more, no-one will ever know how much we adored you, and you were the light of our lives.”

They said their hearts were broken. “You left the biggest footprints in our hearts.”

A song requested by Dickason was played after the tributes from SA were read out.

Lauren Dickason appeared in a Timaru court on Saturday and was remanded to a secure forensic mental health unit until October 5.

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