Timaru mother denies murdering her three children

Lauren Dickason is accused of killing her three children, Liane, 6, Maya, 2, and Karla, 2, in Timaru.


Lauren Dickason is accused of killing her three children, Liane, 6, Maya, 2, and Karla, 2, in Timaru.

Lauren Anne Dickason will enter not guilty pleas to charges of murdering her three daughters in Timaru last month.

Because she remains unwell at Hillmorton Hospital in Christchurch, her appearance even by video-link was excused when the case was called in the High Court on Friday.

Justice Cameron Mander told defence counsel Kerryn Beaton QC that because Dickason was not appearing, the defendant would need to sign a written notice so counsel could enter the not guilty pleas on her behalf. That will be done on Friday.

Dickason, a medical practitioner, is accused of the murder of her three daughters – twins Maya and Karla, 2, and their older sister Liane, 6 – on the night of September 16, about a week after the family moved into a property in Queen St, Timaru.

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Friday’s session took place in the High Court at Christchurch, with a link to the Timaru Court House so relatives and local media could also watch proceedings.

Dickason, who was hospitalised after the incident, had appeared in court in Timaru on September 18 for a psychiatric assessment. More time was granted for that assessment when the case was called in Christchurch last week, without Dickason making an appearance.

The court was told on Friday that both the defence and Crown are arranging independent psychiatric reports.

The trial has already been scheduled for March 2023, and Dickason was remanded to a case review hearing on December 17.

In the meantime, she will continue to be detained in Hillmorton Hospital’s forensic unit, as she has been since her arrest.

Justice Mander said she would continue to be detained in that unit until trial or until detention there was “no longer seen as necessary or appropriate”.

After the girls’ deaths, vigils were held in Timaru and in South Africa.

According to the Homicide Report, a Stuff data investigation examining why people kill, on average nine children aged 14 and younger are the victims of homicide in New Zealand each year.

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