Lauren Dickason's last words to her three little girls before she killed them
Lauren Dickason, who killed her three daughters, told a psychiatrist she thought the children would be better off in heaven because she was the worst wife and mother.
The defence team is presenting evidence to support their argument that she was suffering from post-partum depression and had a long-standing history of mental health challenges. She has pleaded not guilty to murder by reason of insanity or infanticide.
On the day she smothered Liane, 6, and two-year-old twins Maya and Karla, the children had just started attending school in the town of Timaru in New Zealand, which the family had moved to from Pretoria. Husband Graham, an orthopaedic surgeon, had secured a job at the local hospital.
1News.NZ reports she told police in an interview a day after the September 2021 killings that this was the first day she had time to herself in four months. Dickason spoke of stressful experiences with immigration and Covid-19 lockdowns, adding, “I’ve had the kids around me 24/7 with no break, and um, it just got too overwhelming.”
When she picked the twins up from preschool, she said Karla threw a tantrum in the car. Later, she gave the girls dinner and they’d settled in front of the TV, but when her husband left for a dinner with colleagues at 7pm they started their “high jinx and that’s when I just couldn’t any more”.
The NZ Herald reported that psychiatrist Dr Susan Hatters-Friedman, testifying for the defence, told the Christchurch court Dickason told her: “I want this to be over” and “I just wanted us all to be together”.
“I loved them so much that I couldn’t leave them behind if I was to leave this world.”
She felt she was doing “the right thing” and “the children would be better off dead in my mind because I am such a bad mum”.
Dickason admitted to finding motherhood difficult during her police interview too, saying: “Ever since they were born, mums always feel this instantaneous love for their children and I never really experienced it with my kids, like I don’t know what people are talking about ... and then I think there was something wrong with me for not feeling that and I did my best that I could ... they definitely preferred their dad over me.”
On the night she smothered the children and took an overdose, Dickason said she told them: “Mummy’s very sick and is going to die. I can’t leave you behind because I don’t know who’s going to look after you.”
Police asked Dickason about the girls' reactions to what she was doing to them.
“Were they saying anything to you, Lauren?”
She replied, “Not the two little ones, but the oldest one was very angry and she wants to know why I’m doing this to them because I’m the best mum and she loves me.”
Support independent journalism by subscribing to TimesLIVE Premium. Just R80 per month.
Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.