Lauren Dickason: Mum of murder accused was against NZ move and feared for daughter’s mental state

Mother of murder-accused Lauren Dickason, Wendy Fawkes, told the court she feared for her daughter’s mental state before they left for New Zealand. Picture: Supplied

Mother of murder-accused Lauren Dickason, Wendy Fawkes, told the court she feared for her daughter’s mental state before they left for New Zealand. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 26, 2023


Warning: This story contains graphic details and may be triggering to some readers

Wendy Fawkes, the mother of murder-accused Lauren Dickason, had significant reservations regarding the family’s move to New Zealand and feared for her daughter's frail mental state, which was visible in the days leading up to their emigration, the High Court in Christchurch heard on Wednesday.

Fawkes gave evidence for the defence in Christchurch on Wednesday, according to a report by Stuff.NZ.

Fawkes confirmed what the court previously heard about Lauren’s depression during her teenage years, as well as how the In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) treatment affected her daughter, mentally and physically.

Lauren was haunted by the loss of her and her husband Graham’s first child, Sarah at 22 weeks, she explained. Lauren and Graham lost Sarah before the birth of Liané.

“As a mother, I could see when Lauren was down and I tried to encourage her,” Fawkes explained.

Right up until the Dickason’s left for New Zealand, Fawkes said she saw them at least once a week or sometimes more than that.

During the pandemic lockdown, Graham and Lauren announced that they were moving to New Zealand.

“I had significant reservations about Graham and Lauren emigrating to New Zealand … I was concerned they would lose all of their support networks,” Fawkes said.

The support was both physical and emotional and came from a wide group of friends and family, including helping out with the three girls.

Shortly before the Dickason's departure from Pretoria, Fawkes said she met with Graham at a local park to mull over her concerns about Lauren, as she had lost a lot of weight.

“From what I observed, Lauren appeared anxious at this time,” she said, adding there were other noticeable changes.

“She became quiet and stopped communicating as much as she normally would … I was extremely worried about her before she left for New Zealand.

“I’d never seen her in as bad of a mental state as she was in before they left,” Fawkes said.

At the going away party, Wendy and the other relative who testified earlier, confirmed that Lauren appeared to be in a weak mental state, but decided not to address her about it.

The last time Wendy Fawkes saw her daughter before she left for New Zealand, she said she “seemed out of it, disconnected”.

Fawkes also spoke about Lauren’s relationship with her daughters and how she was overprotective and perhaps almost neurotic.

Lauren would not let the children play on the family jungle gym and was concerned about pool covers and having the safest car seats on the market.

“She found it hard to relax with the children because she was constantly ensuring she had everything covered," she said.

During her cross-examination, prosecutor Andrew McRae brought up a glass cabinet at Fawkes’ home.

She spoke about the time Lauren told her she had nightmares about her mother’s cabinet because it wasn’t properly arranged. One day, Lauren went to their home to rearrange the same cabinet.

“When order was not in place, that would make her anxious, wouldn’t it?” McRae asked.

“Yes,” Fawkes replied.

Lauren is Dickason is charged with murdering her three daughters, Liane`, Maya and Karla.

The defence will resume evidence on Thursday.


Are you or someone you know affected by mental health? If so here are some important numbers:

The SA Depression and Anxiety Group's 24-hour mental health helpline: 080-045-6789.

The SA Federation for Mental Health: 011-781-1852.