By Felix Allen
A DEVASTATED dad screamed “is this really happening” after returning home to find the bodies of his three young children – with their mum charged with their murders.
Graham Dickason and his family moved to New Zealand to start a new life but just days later, neighbours reportedly heard “haunting wails” and a woman sobbing at their house.
When Graham, a doctor, got home he reportedly found his twins tots Maya and Karla, two, and little Liane, six, dead as he cried out: “Is this really happening?”.
Cops were then called to the grisly scene at about 10pm on Thursday, and the kids’ mum Lauren Dickason, 40, was taken to hospital in a stable condition.
Today she was charged with murdering her three daughters.
The family had only just emigrated from Pretoria, South Africa, and settled into their new home in Timaru, on New Zealand’s South Island.
Graham, an orthopaedic surgeon, and Lauren, also a hospital doctor, are said to have been planning the move to Timaru for some time.
Lauren’s parents Wendy and Malcom Fawkes told NZ news site Stuff they were “devastated” to hear of the tragedy.
They said: “The extended families are in a state of shock as we try to understand what happened. We ask for your prayers and support during this very difficult time.
Neighbours said they heard a bang and then the sounds of sobbing and moaning at about 9.40 pm.
Jade Whaley said: “The first noise we heard was somebody sobbing, and then we heard a loud thud like someone just slammed a door.
“We could see someone through our fence wandering behind the house and wailing.”
She said: “We asked him if he was OK. He did not respond to us and was screaming and crying hysterically.”
Police sealed off the house – which is leased by the local hospital for newly arrived staff – after paramedics tried in vain to save the girls.
Forensics officers in white overalls spent Friday examining the home for evidence.
“The investigation into this tragedy is still in its very early stages, but we can confirm that nobody else is being sought in relation to the deaths of the three children.”
Area commander Inspector Dave Gaskin said it was “another incredibly sad event for the people of Timaru” following a crash that killed five teenagers.
According to their social media profiles, both Graham and Lauren worked at Pretoria East Hospital before they emigrated.
She also said her eldest daughter had had very limited schooling over the past year because of Covid lockdowns in South Africa.
The couple celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary in May.
Lauren marked the milestone with a Facebook post to her husband, saying: “What an adventure.
“May the next years be more blessed, more happy and may the kids let us sleep.
“Thank you for everything you do for us and your unwavering dedication to loving and providing for us.
“You are my everything.”