Durban - The South African doctor and mother of the three young girls found murdered at their new home in New Zealand, may have been off her chronic medication to meet the country’s strict immigration criteria.
Lauren Dickason, a doctor from Pretoria, is charged for the murders of twins Maya and Karla, 2, and their older sister Liane, 6, who were found dead in their Timaru home last Thursday by their father, Graham Dickason, an orthopaedic surgeon.The girls were allegedly strangled with cable ties.
Following a short court appearance in a Timaru court on Saturday, Dickason was referred to hospital for mental evaluation. She is expected back in court on October 5, according to Reuters.
The family had immigrated to New Zealand in August and had just come out of strict quarantine. They had only been in their new home in Timaru in the Canterbury area of New Zealand for a week when the tragedy occurred.
A local media report said that Lauren had been on chronic medication but stopped taking it because she feared it would affect their immigration application.
New Zealand has strict requirements and potential immigrants can be turned down on the basis of a chronic illness, or if they do not meet “an acceptable standard of health”.
During the two weeks mandatory Covid-19 quarantine period that New Zealand imposes on people entering the country, one cannot leave their hotel room except for an hour of exercise in a courtyard per day.
“The immigration process for New Zealand is extremely traumatic,” the former colleague, also a doctor said.
“I understand the place where the Dickason family had to spend their quarantine was basically like a prison. You don’t see anyone, your food is delivered to your door and you are only let out for about an hour a day.”
The doctor friend said that the stress combined with Lauren not taking her medication could have led to the tragic murders of the children.
According to the couple’s social media profiles, both parents had worked at the Pretoria East Hospital before arriving in New Zealand in late August.
Meanwhile, a woman who also worked at the Pretoria East Hospital and lived in the same the same complex as the couple, Mooikloof Heights Estate, told a New Zealand news website that life in the new country would have been very different for them.
“Here she had a nanny, a domestic worker and a gardener who all helped in and around the house.
"She isn't an evil person, she was pushed outside her limits...but I think it might have been the extreme circumstances. Her mum isn't there, her family isn't there...who will know, we weren't there, not one of us. ....perhaps they didn't anticipate what it would mean to leave everything behind and go."