STOCK jailed prison handcuff crime
Image Credit: Shutterstock

Wellington: A New Zealand judge on Wednesday sentenced a woman to 18 years imprisonment for murdering her three young daughters in 2021.

Lauren Dickason will begin her sentence at a mental health hospital in the custody of the state, a court official at Christchurch High Court told AFP, for the triple killings.

In a statement to local media after her sentencing, Dickason said she had "failed" her children and her husband, who has since moved back to South Africa.

Get exclusive content with Gulf News WhatsApp channel

"I take responsibility for taking our three beautiful girls from this world," she said.

"I would like to take this opportunity to convey the deepest and most sincere remorse for the extreme pain and hurt cause to my children and my family by my actions."

Justice Cameron Mander did not impose a minimum non-parole period in sentencing Dickason, who escaped life imprisonment which is the usual penalty for murder in New Zealand.

read more

Dickason was found guilty last August on three counts of murder having smothered her two-year-old twins Maya and Karla and first daughter Liane, six.

The killings took place in September 2021 at their home in Timaru while her husband was out to dinner with colleagues. He found the bodies of his children when he returned home.

The family had moved to New Zealand from South Africa just weeks before.

During last year's trial, Dickason admitted killing the girls, but had argued a defence of insanity and infanticide, triggered by the stress of the move.

Under New Zealand law, infanticide is a defence for a mother who causes the death of her child when, "at the time of the offence, the balance of her mind was disturbed".

Dickason's lawyer had argued that a mental health unit was the most appropriate place for her, according to local media reports.