Case of Canterbury mum accused of murdering her three daughters back in court

Liané Dickason and her twin sisters Maya and Karla were all found dead in their Timaru home....
Liané Dickason and her twin sisters Maya and Karla were all found dead in their Timaru home. Their mother has been charged with murdering the siblings. Photo: Supplied
The case of a woman charged with murdering her three young daughters in their Timaru home has been called in court today but the accused did not appear in person.

It has been confirmed that she will go on trial next year.

She was excused from being in court after her medical team revealed it would not be in her best interests.

Lauren Anne Dickason allegedly killed 6-year-old Liané, and 2-year-old twins Maya and Karla at their Timaru home on September 16.

Her husband, orthopaedic surgeon Graham Dickason, found the three children dead and his wife in a serious condition when he arrived home from a dinner with colleagues.

The family had emigrated to New Zealand from Pretoria and had only been in Timaru two weeks - following a stint in MIQ - when the children died.

The specific details of their deaths have been suppressed.

Dickason has not attended any of her court hearings since her first appearance two days after the children were killed.

The first appearance was in the Timaru District Court and subsequent dates have been in the High Court at Timaru, held in Christchurch.

In October her lawyer entered pleas of not guilty to all three murder charges with Dickason's signed consent.

A trial date was set in 2023.

Several scheduled court dates since then have been adjourned as health assessments for the accused killer continued.

Today, Justice Cameron Mander excused Dickason's attendance but the callover for her case went ahead.

He said the appearance was excused on advice from her managing clinician.

He said it was thought "at this stage it was thought best not to expose her to the court setting".

Justice Mander continued her remand in custody - in the medium secure psychiatric unit at Hillmorton - until her next court appearance on July 29.

Dickason has also been excused from attending that hearing - largely an administrative fixture - in person.

It is understood several members of the Dickason family watched today's court hearing via remote access links from overseas.

After the three girls were found dead Dickason was rushed to Timaru Hospital in a critical condition.

Within 24 hours she had been arrested and charged with the three murders.

Dickason first appeared in the Timaru District Court on September 18.

She was remanded in custody and detained at a forensic psychiatric facility for assessment.

A week after the alleged murders Graham Dickason said he had forgiven his wife and felt she was also a victim in the tragedy.

He has since returned to South Africa.

It is unclear when or if he will return to New Zealand.

Details of any funeral or farewell for the little girls have not been shared by the family.

-By Anna Leask

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