Cable ties on the floor, Lauren Dickason in ‘catatonic’ state: First responders describe night three young sisters were murdered

Graham Dickason, a doctor from Pretoria found the bodies if twin daughters Maya and Karla Dickason, 3, and their older sister Liane, 7 on Friday. Picture: Facebook.

Graham Dickason, a doctor from Pretoria found the bodies if twin daughters Maya and Karla Dickason, 3, and their older sister Liane, 7 on Friday. Picture: Facebook.

Published Jul 20, 2023


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

It was the tragic incidents that took place between 8pm the night of September 16, 2021, that were described in a High Court in New Zealand on Thursday, by first responding paramedics and police officers.

The court heard how at about 9.40pm on September 16, 2021, neighbours near the Dickason home on Queen St home heard a distressed male out on the street - this was Graham Dickason, after he had found his three daughters dead.

Constables Alexandra Schrader and William Turnbull, who were on a night shift when they got a call that a father had come home to find his three children deceased and that his wife did it, were first on scene, according to a copy of court proceedings by Stuff.NZ.

Schrader said upon entering the home, she saw cut cable ties on the floor, which Turbull concurred. A photograph of this was shown to the jury as evidence.

Lauren was the first to be discovered, and Schrader tended to her immediately, while Turnbull searched the rest of the house. Lauren was found lying across the end of the bed.

“I asked her to open her eyes and look at me, and asked her name. She responded ‘Lauren’.

“She kept closing her eyes like she wanted to sleep,” Schrader said.

“She tried to talk, but her words were coming out quiet and muffled. I asked what she had taken and it sounded like she replied 'tramadol'."

Turnbull leaves the room and proceeds to the next bedroom where he finds the twins, Maya and Karla, tucked in their beds with a toy while Liane` was lying on the floor.

There were no signs of life, he said.

While re-entering the room where Lauren was, he heard officer Schrader ask her what she had taken, to which they both heard “tramadol” - an opiate.

Alexandra Andrews, one of the responding paramedics the night of the murder, described Lauren’s state as “catatonic and vacant”.

“I asked if she’d taken anything, she said no … She also had a small cut on her left forearm covered up by a Band-Aid. I asked if she did it to herself, and she said 'no',” Andrews said.

Andrews said Lauren was capable of walking and assisted her to the ambulance.

She asked her twice if she had taken anything but Lauren replied “No” on both occasions.

She and Constable Schrader accompanied Lauren Dickason to the hospital.

The other St John paramedic on scene, Hayley Hooper, helped Andrews put Lauren into the ambulance and went back into the house and assessed the children.

She pronounced all of them dead.

A toxicology report confirmed no drugs or poisons were found in the girls’ systems. Police also found nine pills inside a bin that appeared to be anti-depressants.

Leading the scene investigation, Detective Scott Genet said he found an open packet of cable ties on a shelf in the garage, which was taken by police.

The photo of the 100-pack of cable ties next to some children's books on the shelf was shown to the jury.

After observing the scene, Genet said the twins were tucked into their beds and Liané lay across one of the beds about halfway up the bed.

Police also took a pair of pyjama bottoms taken from Liané. It was analysed and small amounts of bloodstain were found on the bottom of the leg cuffs and near the waist.

Court proceedings will continue on Friday.


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

  • The SA Depression and Anxiety Group's 24-hour mental health helpline: 0800 456 789
  • The SA Federation for Mental Health: 011 781 1852