New trial date for mum accused of murdering her three daughters in Timaru

Graham and Lauren Dickason with their daughters before the alleged murders. Photo: Facebook
Graham and Lauren Dickason with their daughters before the alleged murders. Photo: Facebook
The trial for the woman accused of murdering her three children at their Timaru home has been scheduled for mid-2023.

Lauren Anne Dickason's case was called in the High Court today.

Her trial, expected to take several weeks, was initially set for early next year in Timaru.

However, she applied to change venues so the case could be heard in Christchurch.

That meant a change to the trial date.

It will now go ahead in July next year.

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 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 first appeared in the Timaru District Court two days after the alleged murders.

Since then she has not attended any of her court hearings either in person or via audio visual link.

Justice Cameron Mander has excused her attendance, citing advice from her managing clinician.

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

Last week after the venue change application was granted it was thought Dickason's trial may not go ahead until 2024.

However, since then space has been confirmed next year and the July date was today set down.

Her trial will begin on July 17, 2023.

Dickason remains in custody in the medium secure psychiatric unit at Hillmorton.

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 understood he dialled in to today's hearing.

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

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

-By Anna Leask

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