A jury in New Zealand has found a South African woman guilty of murdering her three young daughters, with media saying she faced a life sentence for each killing.
Lauren Anne Dickason killed her two-year-old twins and their six-year-old sister in September 2021 at their home in Timaru, about a month after the family had migrated from South Africa.
Media said a majority verdict by a jury of eight women and four men held Dickason, 42, was not insane at the time of the killings and was guilty of murder, following a month-long high court trial in the city of Christchurch.
Watch the latest news and stream for free on 7plus >>
Her husband Graham had found their children Liané, Maya, and Karla dead and his wife in a serious condition upon arriving home after a dinner with colleagues, New Zealand media have previously reported.
The prosecution said Dickason knew when she killed her daughters that what she was doing was morally wrong and the act was murder, according to broadcaster Radio New Zealand.
Mum accused of murdering three young daughters
Some of the jury were heard crying as they left the courtroom, media said.
The judge, Cameron Mander, remanded Dickason to custody in a hospital psychiatric unit until her sentencing.
She has been in hospital since the murders.
‘This was not our daughter’
Dickason’s parents Malcolm and Wendy Fawkes released a statement following the verdict, saying the “tragedy” was due to a devastating mental illness.
“Postpartum depression is a terrible thing, as has been shown by what happened to our family on 16 September 2021,” they said, as per the New Zealand Herald.
“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 there are “no winners in this tragedy” and that the three girls were “taken from this life to another as a result of this crippling disease”.
“We would like to thank the people of New Zealand, South Africa and from around the world who have been so understanding of the effects of postpartum depression and mental illness, and who have given us incredible support.
“We would like to encourage families and individuals around the world to be aware of the symptoms of postpartum 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 recognise the signs or how serious postpartum depression can become.”
Lauren Anne Dickason with her two-year-old twins and their six-year-old sister. Credit: FacebookSouth African Lauren Dickason has been found guilty of murdering her three young daughters in NZ. (AP) Credit: AP
New Zealand police also extended their “deepest sympathies” to the families involved, who will “never get to see Liané, Maya, and Karla grow up and live their lives”.
“Words cannot begin to express the tragic circumstances of this investigation,” Detective Inspector Scott Anderson said in a statement.
“I would like to acknowledge the Dickason and Fawkes families who have assisted us throughout our investigation.
“I also want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our investigation team.”
Anderson said the investigation had been challenging and complex from the crime scene through to the trial’s completion.
“Through it all our staff have worked diligently with professionalism and empathy to bring this matter to its conclusion,” he said.
– With 7NEWS
Tasmanian man accused of murdering teenage girl faces court
Man accused of making bomb threats on plane from Sydney to remain in jail
If you’d like to view this content, please adjust your Cookie Settings.