Lauren Dickason trial: How Pretoria doctor Googled lethal overdose drugs for children
A New Zealand court heard on Monday how new immigrant Lauren Dickason had searched on Google for “drugs to overdose kids” while her cellphone chats showed her ambivalence about her three children.
The former Pretoria doctor is on trial for strangling Liané, six, and the twins Karla and Maya, two, on September 16 2021 in the town of Timaru, where her surgeon husband Graham had secured a job at the hospital.
In the run-up to the murders, the searches included “Lethal dosage alprazolam in children” (July 31 2021), “Ambien lethal dose” (August 14), “Most effective overdose in children” (August 20) and “Drugs to overdose kids” (late August that year).
Her search history and cellphone messages reveal her mental health challenges, the stress she was feeling about being in isolation during the Covid-19 lockdown and selling their home before their relocation.
In one message, she said: “This is by far absolutely the most terrifying thing we have ever done”.
She spoke of how her weight had dropped to 55kg because she could not eat and how she was frequently overwrought.
“I can remember in the middle of all our drama, Graham came one day and I said ‘Love, guess what, I haven’t cried today’. I felt like a champion because I think I cried every day for four months more than once a day,” she told a friend.
She alternated between describing happy moments with the children to her difficulty in coping with them.
“Yup 16 IVFs to get these gorgeous kids. Broke now because we could have paid off the house but worth every cent.”
“Maya is the little mother. Always helpful and peaceful and obedient. Karla is the firecracker. She can throw an amazing tantrum but is also lovable and talks a dog out of a bush. She and Liané are best friends. This is such a nice age. I wish they can stay this big forever.”
“I love my kids but I feel like they don’t love me and I am just their slave. Just gets me down because they always want Graham.”
A letter from Dickason’s psychiatrist in South Africa, which was found in her phone’s photo gallery, said she’d been a patient at his practice since 2015 and suffered from major depressive disorder.
The letter was addressed to New Zealand immigration and stated she had never been a danger to herself or any other person. It stated she was doing well on two prescribed drugs. The psychiatrist recommended she continue with her medication and should follow up with a treating doctor on an outpatient basis in New Zealand. However, Dickason had gone off her medication, the court heard.
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