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Killer mum cuddles bears made from slain daughters' clothes, letter reveals

Anna Leask,
Publish Date
Tue, 3 Oct 2023, 10:40am

Killer mum cuddles bears made from slain daughters' clothes, letter reveals

Anna Leask,
Publish Date
Tue, 3 Oct 2023, 10:40am

Convicted triple murderer Lauren Dickason has penned a letter to her supporters from the forensic psychiatric unit where she is being held, thanking them for their love and support “in this difficult time”. 

And the 42-year-old revealed she sleeps every night with soft toy bears made from the clothing of the daughters she smothered to death in their Timaru home in 2021. 

In August - following a five-week trial - Dickason was found guilty of murdering Liané, 6, and 2-year-old twins Maya and Karla. 

Dickason systematically smothered the children to death - just weeks after emigrating to New Zealand - after an unsuccessful attempt at strangling each of them with cable ties. 

Graham and Lauren Dickason with their daughters before the murders. Photo / FacebookGraham and Lauren Dickason with their daughters before the murders. Photo / Facebook 

Dickason admitted killing the children but pleaded not guilty to three charges of murder, mounting a defence of insanity or infanticide. 

She maintained that she was so mentally disturbed at the time of the offending that she could not be held fully responsible. 

However, after hearing exhaustive evidence from Dickason, those closest to her and a number of experts a jury found Dickason guilty of murdering all three children. 

Dickason will be sentenced by Justice Cameron Mander to three life sentences - expected to be served concurrently - on December 19. 

It was revealed this morning that Dickason has written a letter to her supporters. 

“Thank you to everybody for your love and support in this difficult time,” said the letter, which has been supplied to Stuff. 

Dickason shared a “paint by numbers” she did to “commemorate the girls’ passing on the 16th of September. 

“There are also bears that were made with the childrens’ clothing and have their names embroidered on their feet,” she said. 

“I sleep with them at night, to hold them close and remember all the wonderful cuddles my girls used to give me.” 

The letter is signed with a love heart, Dickson’s signature and xxx. 

Lauren Dickason moments before the jury delivered a majority verdict of murder. Photo / George HeardLauren Dickason moments before the jury delivered a majority verdict of murder. Photo / George Heard 

Dickason’s parents and sister are members of a Facebook group where supporters leave messages for her. 

After she was convicted her father Malcolm told members she was “downcast”. 

When Justice Mander sentences Dickason he will be tasked with deciding her minimum non-parole period and where she will be detained. 

Since her first court appearance two days after the murder, she has been held at Hillmorton Hospital in a secure psychiatric unit. 

During her trial it was confirmed she remains under intense monitoring due to her risk of suicide, and is heavily medicated. 

Justice Mander has ordered a number of mental health and other reports about Dickason’s condition so he can ascertain where she should serve her sentence - or at least where she should start serving her time. 

During her trial, her mental illness - a major depressive disorder - was not in question. 

Under New Zealand law Dickason must serve her sentence here and returning to South Africa would not be an option until such time - if ever - she is granted parole. 

If she is released she may be deported. 

After the verdict was read in court Dickason’s parents issued a statement. 

In it they said postpartum depression was “a terrible thing” and that had been shown by what happened to their family. 

“This was not our daughter, but a debilitating mental illness which resulted in an awful tragedy, the details of which you are by now well aware,” they said. 

“Our beloved Lianè, Karla and Maya were taken from this life to another as a result of this crippling disease. 

“There are no winners in this tragedy. 

Lauren Dickason during her police interview. Photo / PoolLauren Dickason during her police interview. Photo / Pool 

“We would like to encourage families and individuals around the world to be aware of the symptoms of post-partum depression as early as possible, both for yourselves as well as close family and friends around you. 

“If treated early and managed correctly, people can experience a full recovery. The person experiencing depression and those closest to them may not be able to recognize the signs or how serious postpartum depression can become.” 

During the trial defence experts said Dickason was in the grips of postpartum depression when she killed the girls. 

But Crown experts refuted that, saying while she was certainly experiencing depression after the births of Lianè and the twins, the bouts were reoccurrences of the major depressive disorder Dickason was diagnosed with at 15. 

The King v Lauren Anne Dickason - the Crown and defence cases 

The Crown’s case was Dickason murdered the children in a “calculated” way because she was frustrated, angry and resentful of them. 

It acknowledged Dickason suffered from sometimes-serious depression, but maintained she knew what she was doing when she killed the girls. 

Crown Prosecutor Andrew McRae alleged Dickason was an angry and frustrated woman who was “resentful of how the children stood in the way of her relationship with her husband” and killed them “methodically and purposefully, perhaps even clinically”. 

The defence argued Dickason was a severely mentally disturbed woman in the depths of postpartum depression and did not know the act of killing the children was morally wrong at the time of their deaths. 

Further, it says she was “in such a dark place” she had decided to kill herself and felt “it was the right thing to do” to “take the girls with her”. 

The jury returned a majority verdict after two days of deliberation. 

They were convinced by the Crown case and found Dickason guilty of three counts of murder. 


Where to get help: 
• Lifeline: Call 0800 543 354 or text 4357 (HELP) (available 24/7) 
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: Call 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7) 
• Youth services: (06) 3555 906 
• Youthline: Call 0800 376 633 or text 234 
• What's Up: Call 0800 942 8787 (11am to 11pm) or webchat (11am to 10.30pm) 
• Depression helpline: Call 0800 111 757 or text 4202 (available 24/7) 
• Helpline: Need to talk? Call or text 1737 If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111 

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