Warning: This story contains graphic details and may be triggering to some readers.
During the second week of trial in the case against Lauren Dickason, who is accused of killing her three daughters, evidence given before the court has tried to prove, to some extent, that it was premeditated murder.
The prosecution is trying to prove that Dickason knew exactly what she was doing at the time of the murders, while her defence is arguing that Lauren had a depressive episode and thought she had to kill the children.
This, according to copies of the court proceedings posted online by Stuff.NZ.
On Monday, Joshua Locke, a digital forensic analyst for police, gave evidence relating to some of the messages and search history found on Lauren’s mobile phone.
Locke was also cross examined by Lauren’s lawyer Abbie Hollingworth.
The forensic analyst, analysed Dickason’s phone the day and night of the murder, including her movements and GPS location.
Locke told the court that during 6pm and 10pm, the night of the murders, Lauren received a number of messages from friends in South Africa.
At 10;47am, the morning of the murders, the twins’ preschool manager Bronwyn Davies sent Lauren a photograph of the twins.
The image, captioned “Karla and Maya are having a great time”, showed the girls sitting at the desk eating snacks.
“How did school go today and how are you doing?”, one message received at 7.47pm read.
“Hey. How are you doing?”, another friend sent at 9.29pm.
All these messages were left unread.
A further dive into her phone analytics showed some of her search history items, which the Crown could possibly use to strengthen their case about it being a premeditated murder.
In July and August 2021, searches were made on Lauren’s phone, which were then deleted, the court heard.
These searches included:
“Lethal dosage alprazolam in children” made on July 31.
“Ambien lethal dose” on August 14).
“Most effective overdose in children” on August 20.
“Drugs to overdose kids” in late August.
Furthermore, in July, Lauren received a message from a friend, with the link to a video online.
Titled “Mom needs a minute”, the video depicts a woman venting difficulties with motherhood, saying it was driving her insane and causing her stress, which she needed a break from.
She replied: “Awesome xxx, that’s exactly how I feel”.
But during the cross examination, Hollingworth sought to expel some of the Crown's evidence in relation to the search history.
Hollingworth asked Locke if the phone showed who exactly made these searches online. She also asked if the phone was able to show what she was thinking at the time.
Locke said it could not.
In respect to the search history, Hollingworth asked if Safari on an iPhone deleted its search history automatically after 30 days.
Locke confirmed it did.
She asked if he was instructed to leave out certain results in his final report, particularly, about the use of liquorice as poison.
Locke confirmed that he did not include this search in his report from Lauren’s phone after being instructed that it wasn’t relevant by the officer in charge of the case.
Forensic pathologist Martin Sage was last to give evidence on Monday, but due to the extreme graphic nature of his findings, his evidence could not be published.
Sage will continue with his evidence on Tuesday morning.
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