Warning: This story contains graphic details and may be triggering to some readers.
The trial of Lauren Dickason, the mother accused of killing her three young daughters, continued in the New Zealand High Court at Christchurch today..
The case has sent shockwaves through New Zealand and South Africa, as the details of the tragic incident unfold.
Dickason, a doctor who practised in Pretoria, has admitted to the killings, and is facing charges for the murder of her children - 6-year-old Liané and 2-year-old twins Maya and Karla.
The incident occurred shortly after the family immigrated from South Africa in August 2021 after Dickason’s husband Graham - got a job at Timaru Hospital.
Despite her admission, Dickason has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and infanticide.
Her husband, Graham Dickason, an orthopaedic surgeon, was not at home during the incident, having left the house just 20 minutes prior.
According to a report by Anna Leask of the New Zealand Herald today, Graham provided to the court a harrowing account of his wife's mental state in the months leading up to the murders, painting a picture of a woman under immense stress and struggling with her mental health.
The New Zealand Herald said that Graham Dickason described his wife as being "not in a good place" during the period leading up to the tragic incident.
He cited various stresses that were weighing heavily on her, including the family's recent move to New Zealand, the challenges of dealing with lockdown, and her recovery from a foot operation.
In a chilling revelation, Graham Dickason also disclosed that he found three sets of cable ties "strung together" in a wardrobe at their former home in South Africa when he returned after the alleged murders.
He expressed deep concern about this discovery, which he interpreted as a possible sign of his wife's deteriorating mental state, The Herald reported.
The trial, presided over by Justice Cameron Mander, is ongoing and is expected to take three weeks to complete.
On Tuesday, the jury began watching a nearly three-hour video of Graham Dickason's interview with the police, conducted the day after the alleged murders.
In the interview, he provides further insight into his wife's mental health struggles and the family's life leading up to the tragic event, according to the Herald.
Graham Dickason has also given evidence via audio-visual link from his home in South Africa.
He spoke about his wife's struggles with motherhood and her feelings of inadequacy. He also mentioned that Lauren had sought professional help for her mental health in the past, particularly after the birth of their first child.
The case has drawn significant attention, both for its tragic nature and for the questions it raises about mental health and the pressures of motherhood.
As the trial continues, the jury will be tasked with determining whether Lauren Dickason was legally responsible for her actions, given her mental state at the time of the incident.
The trial is expected to delve deeper into the family's life, Lauren Dickason's mental health history, and the circumstances that led to the tragic incident.
The jury will also hear more from Graham Dickason, whose testimony will provide a crucial perspective on his wife's struggles and the family's life before the tragedy.
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