Timaru triple homicide: Crown claims Lauren Dickason killed her three daughters because she resented them

Warning: This story contains graphic and distressing details about the children's deaths that some people may find distressing.

The final moments of the three young girls allegedly murdered by their mother were outlined to the High Court in Christchurch on Monday.

Lauren Dickason, 41, moved to Timaru with her husband and three children from South Africa in 2021 during the pandemic for her husband to work as an orthopaedic surgeon. The Crown told the court that four weeks after they arrived, Dickason murdered her three daughters because she resented them and what they had done to her life.

Dickason entered the High Court on Monday to face three counts of murder, one for each of her little girls - Liané, Maya, and Karla.

Dickason was a doctor in South Africa. She and her husband Graham, an orthopaedic surgeon, had emigrated to Timaru weeks before the alleged killings.

The court heard on Monday it took Dickason 17 rounds of IVF with one miscarriage to get pregnant with their three girls.

A fight to have them replaced by a decision to kill them.

"She knew what she was doing before, during, and after," Crown prosecutor Andrew McRae told the court.

A jury of eight women and four men heard that on the evening of the alleged murders, Dickason, who had a long history of mental illness, told her three girls they were going to make necklaces, and then put zip ties around their necks.

"When they failed to die by way of the cable ties being applied to their neck, the Crown say that the defendant smothered the girls with their blankets before she made an attempt on her own life," McRae said.

Dickason claimed she was very unwell at the time of the killings, and if she's guilty of anything, it's infanticide.

"Lauren was in such a dark place, so removed from reality, so suicidal, so disordered in her thinking, that when she decided to kill herself that night, she thought she had to take the girls with her," said defence counsel Kerryn Beaton KC.

But the Crown said she's a murderer.

"She acted methodically and purposefully and perhaps even clinically in what she did," McRae said.

And that she resented her children and the impact they had on her life.

"Often lament to her closest friends, most importantly on her relationship with her husband Graham. She felt that the children favoured Dr Dickason and she, the Crown say, was resentful of that," McRae said.

Messages to her friends were read to the court which the Crown said showed her frustration and frequent thoughts of harming them, including one message the night before she allegedly killed them.

"I wish I could give them back and start over," McRae said, reading out one of the messages.

The next day in the country they had come to start over in, her children's lives were violently taken.

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