Lauren Dickason, 40, has reportedly been taken to a mental health unit in New Zealand where she will stay until she returns to court to hear charges of murdering her three children, aged two and six
A doctor charged with killing her three daughters may have been stressed after quarantining in the move from South Africa to New Zealand, a former neighbour of the family has said.
Lauren Dickason, 40, is accused of killing her twin girls Maya and Karla, two, and their older sister Liane, six, on at their home in Timaru on Thursday.
This week she was read the charges at Timaru District Court and did not make a plea.
Dickason has now been taken to a secure mental health unit, where she will remain until she returns to court on October 5, reports the NZHerald.
She and her husband Graham Dickason, a surgeon, had just been released from a 14-day stay in a quarantine hotel days before the children were killed.
Mr Dickason discovered the tragedy when he returned home from a work function.
A former neighbour of the couple, who did not want to be named, wondered if quarantining had affected Dickason’s mental health.
They told netwerk24.com: “They absolutely adored those children. They were so grateful for having them because they struggled to get pregnant and when they finally got the children, they loved them.
“Something just doesn’t seem right to us. We don’t know what happened. There is not a lot of information, but they are kind people.”
They added: “Something just doesn’t add up. I don’t know if it’s the stress from New Zealand, moving there, being quarantined for so long and everything – just not coping with that going on.
“So I think whatever happened is not normal, it wasn’t normal circumstances.”
The tragedy comes less than five months since Dickason wrote a loving post on Facebook to celebrate the couple’s 15th wedding anniversary.
Writing on May 1, she said: “What an adventure. We have truly created a beautiful family and had many good times together.
“May the next years be more blessed, more happy and may the kids let us sleep.”
Dickason had also previously shared a social media post in March, where she discussed the mental health of celebrities.
She wrote: “Unfortunately we live in a world where if you break a bone everyone comes to sign the cast but if you tell people you’re depressed they run the other way.”
The family had moved to New Zealand from South Africa to work at a hospital in Timaru just a week before the tragedy.
The children’s grandparents in South Africa are struggling to come to terms with their deaths, reported news outlet Stuff.
Those who knew the family in South Africa said Dickason was the “nicest” person.
A former colleague and neighbour, Natasja le Roux told the South Africa Sunday Times: “I cannot comprehend what happened, she is a medical doctor and she wasn’t arrogant or anything like that. She was very humble.
“She was really just a nice person, she and her husband.”
She also claimed that the couple had struggled to conceive children and it meant a lot for them to have them.
“They waited years for those children because she had troubles with fertility and stuff so it really is a big shock,” said Le Roux.