Lauren Dickason trial: ‘She intended for the victims to die’, says forensic psychiatrist

The Dickason family moved to New Zealand in 2021. File Picture

The Dickason family moved to New Zealand in 2021. File Picture

Published Aug 3, 2023


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

The forensic psychiatrist currently on the witness stand in a trial where a South African mother is accused of murdering her three children in New Zealand told the High Court in Christchurch she intended for her children to die.

Originally from Pretoria, Lauren Dickason, 42, is accused of murdering six-year-old Liané and two-year-old twins, Maya and Karla by first strangling them with cable ties, but ending their lives by smothering them with their blankets in September 2021.

Her husband, orthopaedic surgeon Graham Dickason discovered the bodies when he got home from a work function.

Forensic psychiatrist Dr Simone McLeavey was the first expert to interview Lauren after the alleged murders.

McLeavey testified that while Lauren may suffer from a disease of the mind, the extent was not sufficient to render her incapable of understanding the nature of her actions, Stuff.NZ reported.

The forensic psychiatrist told the court that Lauren’s actions indicate premeditation rather than the killings being impulsive as she claimed, due to the previously deleted searches on how to overdose children.

McLeavey told the court Lauren intended for the victims to die and she was aware her actions could result in the deaths.

She said any altruistic motivation was formed by control and anger in regards to the prospect of another woman raising her children.

McLeavey further stated that stress was a factor in driving the killings, but emphasises that the stressors did not lead to the murders or suicides, but rather a person’s perception of the stressor.

In her expert opinion, McLeavey told the court Lauren would not be eligible for an insanity defence. She also stated there is no evidence that Lauren has an infanticide defence available.

Earlier during the trial, forensic psychiatrist Dr Erik Monasterio, who also interview Lauren, testified he was struck by the way she described the incident to him.

He said Lauren checked the children’s vitals as she was killing them and the extra lengths she went to in order to ensure their deaths showed she was sane.

The trial continues.