South African woman found guilty of murdering her 3 daughters in New Zealand

South African woman found guilty of murdering her 3 daughters in New Zealand

Following 4-week trial, majority of Christchurch High Court jury finds Lauren Dickason, 42, guilty of murders committed just weeks after family arrived in southern Timaru in 2021

By Necva Tastan

ISTANBUL (AA) – A South African woman was found guilty of killing her three daughters in Timaru, a port city in New Zealand's southern Canterbury Region, local media reported on Wednesday.

A majority of the Christchurch High Court jury found 42-year-old Lauren Dickason guilty of murdering her three daughters – two-year-old twins Karla and Maya, and six-year-old Liane – at her home in Timaru, a few weeks after the family arrived in New Zealand in 2021, Wellington-based RNZ reported.

Following a four-week trial that included complex legal arguments and examined Dickason's history of mental health and fertility issues, the majority of the jury found the mother guilty of murder.

During the trial, Dickason's lawyer Kerryn Beaton KC explained the mother's severe depression, saying, "Mothers don't kill their children the way that Lauren did just because they're angry, or resentful, or stressed or anxious. So the girls' deaths have nothing to do with anger and resentment, and everything to do with what was clearly a severe mental illness."

The prosecution said the mother murdered her children out of "anger, resentment," and a desire for control.

A defense psychiatrist Dr. Justin Barry-Walsh said the mother, grappling with worsening depression and a negative worldview, believed that killing her children was "morally right" and “justified.”

Dickason will be held in a hospital for evaluation before a sentencing date is set.

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