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Mother bags 18-Years jail term for killing her kids

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Lauren Dickason bags 18-Years jail term for killing her kids

Lauren Dickason, the mother who smothered her three young daughters to death, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison by the Federal High Court in Timaru, New Zealand.

The 41-year-old former doctor was found guilty last August of murdering her two-year-old twin daughters, Maya and Karla, and their six-year-old sister, Lianè, on September 16, 2021.

The court heard that Dickason initially attempted to kill her children using zip ties before suffocating them with pillows. She then placed their bodies in their beds and attempted to take her own life. Dickason admitted to the killings but pleaded not guilty to murder, citing severe post-partum depression and mental disturbance at the time of the crimes.

Justice Cameron Mander sentenced Dickason to three determinate sentences of 18 years, to be served concurrently, without setting a minimum term of imprisonment.

However, he ruled that Lauren Dickason would be detained at a mental health facility for compulsory treatment until she is mentally well enough to be transferred to prison. She will be eligible for parole after serving six years.

Mother who killed her 3 daughters is sentenced to 18 years in jail

The judge acknowledged Dickason’s long history of mental health issues, which began in her teenage years with a diagnosis of major depressive disorder. Her mental health significantly deteriorated following the births of her daughters, leading her to seek psychiatric treatment for post-natal depression.

In the months leading up to the murders, Dickason experienced intrusive thoughts of harming her children.

During the sentencing, Justice Mander highlighted the profound breach of trust and the vulnerability of the children, who were entirely dependent on their mother for care and protection.

“They would have viewed you as an unconditional source of safety and love,” he said. “The ending represents a fundamental breach of trust.”

Dickason’s husband, Graham, an orthopedic surgeon, found his children dead upon returning from a work dinner. He later told police that while he was aware his wife was struggling with her mental health, he had no idea she was capable of committing such an act.

Following the four-week trial, the jury, composed of eight women and four men, rejected Dickason’s legal defenses under New Zealand’s insanity and infanticide laws, voting 11-1 to find her guilty.

In court, Lauren Dickason expressed deep remorse and took responsibility for her actions, apologizing for the pain she had caused her husband and others.

Mother who killed her 3 daughters is sentenced to 18 years in jail

“I loved Lianè, Maya, and Karla with all my heart. No apology will ever be enough, and words will seem hollow to many,” she said.

“I want people to know our girls brought me so much joy and were the center of my world. I am horrified by my actions and the pain, distress, and trauma I have caused everyone who loved them.”

Dickason urged other families to recognize and act on the signs of post-partum depression to prevent similar tragedies.

“This pain and heartbreak cannot happen to any other families,” she added.

Justice Mander commended Graham Dickason for his grace and stoicism in the face of “unfathomable loss,” as he sentenced Lauren Dickason for the unprecedented crime of a parent murdering their three children in New Zealand.

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