The first psychiatrist who evaluated Lauren Dickason after the death of her three children took the witness stand on Thursday (for the state). She also says that Dickason did not suffer from psychosis or delusion and cannot use insanity as a defense.
The forensic psychiatrist dr. Simone McLeavey believes Dickason made it clear that the children’s deaths were in her own best interest, reports Stuff.co.nz.
The State contacted McLeavey two days after the children’s deaths and McLeavey first interviewed Dickason six days later at Hillmorton Psychiatric Hospital in Christchurch, New Zealand. She conducted four more interviews with Dickason in the following weeks to try to determine whether insanity was a possible defense.
“I am of the view that the defendant would not be eligible for an insanity defence,” McLeavey said in the High Court in Christchurch on Thursday.
“There is also no evidence that the defendant on an infanticide defense (infanticide) cannot claim.”
However, McLeavey admitted under cross-examination that she had not previously been involved in a case where a parent killed a child. However, she has worked on many cases involving the issue of insanity, the court heard today.
‘Her intention was to die’
According to McLeavey’s clinical notes, Dickason was “polite and respectful” during their interviews. Dickason was also able to communicate without any “thought disorder”, reports NZ Herald.
Dickason said during the interviews with McLeavey that she had decided to “end the suffering” and that “there was no turning back”.
“Her intention was to die … she said her husband returned earlier than expected,” McLeavey told the court today.
McLeavey explained that she did not ask Dickason about the incident during the first interview and that Dickason only spoke about the events of September 16, 2021, the day of Liané’s (6) and two-year-old twins Maya and Karla’s death, in later interviews has, reports NZ Herald.
“She was able to provide all the necessary details required … she described symptoms of depression and anxiety before, during and after the alleged offence,” McLeavey explained in court.
“She recalled being upset and saying ‘it was just like every other day’.” She had negative self-thoughts and thought of herself as ‘a useless mother’.
Dickason also said she felt “despondent” and thought that family life had even become “too much” for her husband, Graham.
“We were both done,” Dickason said.
According to her, Graham looked “irritated”.
“It was (according to Dickason) like he gave up… at some point after he left the house that night, she thought she deserved to die… she thought her children deserved better.”
However, McLeavey also interviewed Graham, among others, and he in turn told that he was, on the contrary, optimistic that day as the children had gone to school and Dickason could finally take time for herself.
“She said there was no pre-planning … it was impulsive and disorganized. “She said she didn’t leave a suicide note because ‘what I did was pretty self-explanatory,'” McLeavey said.
Dickason then explained how she killed the three children and admitted that she “killed Karla first because she was angry with her”.
She said it was “an out-of-body experience … it was like I was above (my own body and being)”.
Meanwhile, McLeavey told the court that it was clear that Dickason did not at any stage consider stopping after she started killing the children.
McLeavey further explained that Dickason’s motive for her suicide attempt was ‘self-destruction’ and that the children’s murder was an extension of the suicide – the two were intertwined.
“The accused denied that she tried to kill herself because she was remorseful.”
The trial resumes on Friday.