Dickason was able to do ‘minimum operations’


The third week of the trial of Lauren Dickason, the South African mother who is on trial in New Zealand for the murder of her three young daughters, resumed on Monday in the High Court in Christchurch with the cross-examination of a psychiatrist who, after the children’s dead did an evaluation of Dickason.

Dickason is on trial for the murder of Liané (6), and the two-year-old twins, Maya and Karla, at their home in Timaru in September 2021. The family emigrated to New Zealand shortly before the children’s death.

Dickason pleads not guilty to the murder charges against her.

The state claims she killed her children in a calculated way because she was frustrated and angry with them. The state also admits that she sometimes suffered from severe depression, but that she nevertheless knew what she was doing when she killed the children.

On Monday, State Prosecutor Andrew McRae began his cross-examination of Dr. Susan Hatters-Friedman, an international expert on forensic and reproductive psychology, continued, reports NZ Herald.

Hatters-Friedman interviewed Dickason four times after the children’s deaths and earlier told the court that Dickason killed out of an altruistic motive – when a parent kills out of love, rather than anger or hatred.

The court heard today that it took Dickason three hours to shop for three days and that she felt scared and that, after the family arrived in Timaru, she made the observation that the people there looked untidy, and the children at school look sad.

Hatters-Friedman told the court that these were all signs that Dickason was suffering from insanity due to her depression. McRae wanted to know if it was madness, or rather general reservations about moving to a new country.

Stuff.co.za reports that the court also heard that Dickason was able to do the “minimum activities” before the children’s death. McRae asked Hatters-Friedman if Dickason was functioning at a high level – she got out of bed, took her children to school, prepared their lunch and did their hair impeccably.

“Of course, although I would not say that the functioning is at a high level for someone who previously worked as a doctor,” Hatters-Friedman told the court.

McRae also stated to Hatters-Friedman that earlier on the day of the children’s deaths, Dickason had answered various immigration and related emails, taken the children to the park, prepared dinner and washed the dishes.

“She was not catatonic. (She) was able to purposefully do activities that required thinking throughout the day, wasn’t she?”

To this, Hatters-Friedman replied: “I don’t remember anyone indicating that she was catatonic. Yes, she could do the minimum operations.”

The state also wanted to know from Hatters-Friedman what Dickason’s state of mind was on the night of the children’s deaths.

“She was out of touch with reality … she thought that she was taking her children that she cared about and loved so much from this unsafe New Zealand … it’s obviously out of touch with reality.”

  • Keep an eye on RNews for more on Monday’s court proceedings.