It has been a week since Graham Dickason came home to find his three little girls dead in the family’s Timaru home.
A week since his wife of 15 years Lauren Dickason allegedly murdered 6-year-old Liané and twins Maya and Karla, 2.
A week since life as he knew it ended in the most tragic way possible.
Last night, Graham Dickason shared his first words about the tragedy – from the loss of his daughters to the love for his wife and the kindness shown by Kiwis and the world to his family.
He penned a heartfelt statement that was read to hundreds of people gathered at a candlelight vigil outside the house where the alleged murders took place.
Here is his letter in full.
“My words are few at the moment.
“On Thursday the 16th of September 2021 my life and Lauren’s were turned upside down when our three precious angels were ripped away from us.
“It is a loss that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
“In this time of terrible tragedy and adversity, I can only ask for prayer for myself, my family, and my friends – prayer for strength, and for healing.
“Please also pray for my lovely Lauren, as I honestly believe that she is a victim of this tragedy as well.
“People that know her well will testify to that – I have no doubt.
“I’ve already forgiven her, and I urge you, in your own time, to do the same
“It is the key to healing from this loss we have all experienced.
“For the people touched and affected by this – look after yourself.
“Look after your wives, your husbands, your partners.
“Look after your children.
“For those with faith in Jesus Christ – hold on to that.
“For the parents with young kids – remember them.
“Remember to let them run free,remember to let them play wild, allow them to laugh as much as they can.
“And they are never too young to be introduced to Jesus.
“I thank you for your love and support.”
Graham Dickason specifically thanked ‘the people of Timaru, New Zealanders, South Africans and many people from all over the world”.
“We have been blessed with love and support,” he said.
“My faith in humanity has been restored, I thank you all.”
Graham and Lauren Dickason are from Pretoria in South Africa and had been in Timaru just a week when tragedy unfolded.
Graham had moved to South Canterbury to take a job as an orthopedic surgeon at Timaru Hospital and after completing a stint in managed isolation he moved his family into a house across the road.
He had been at a work function and returned home to find the girls dead and Lauren – also a doctor – unresponsive and in a critical condition.
She was rushed to hospital and soon stabilised.
Police charged her with three counts of murder and she appeared in the Timaru District Court on Saturday morning before Judge Dominic Dravitzki.
To mark a week since the alleged murder members of the community organised a vigil outside the house that was a home to the Dickason family for a short time.
During the vigil a letter was also read from Graham Dickason’s mother Betty and his sisters.
“We are all struggling to comprehend how and why this happened … the girls were much loved by us all,” they said in their tribute.
“Liané was a typical big sister … always holding hands.”
Their letter spoke of the last video Graham sent home of the little girl who had started at a new school in Timaru two days before she was allegedly murdered.
“She seemed so excited about the new friends she had made,” they said.
They also spoke of the twins, saying Maya was known for carrying around dolls.
“Karla was the brave one born with a cleft lip, she didn’t have the best start in life, but she overcame that and became an explorer,” they said.
Graham Dickason’s family said his move to New Zealand with the children was hard, “tough” but they stayed close.
The alleged murders were another blow after his father died last year.
“We take comfort he is now united with those little angels taking care of them,” the family said.
“This week the distance between us has felt so great.”
They were “incredibly touched” by the outpouring of love and support from New Zealanders and thanked police, first responders, hospital staff, Interpol and the Government for their help and support.
“In our darkest hour this has been simply overwhelming,” they said.
“Thank each and every one of you.”
Lauren Dickason’s parents Wendy and Malcolm Fawkes also wrote a message to the girls – their “angels”.
“We wish we could see you one more time … we will hear you voices no more,” they said.
“You were the light of our lives … our hearts are broken, our tears are flowing.”
Lauren Dickason will reappear in the High Court at Timaru on October 4.
She is currently remanded to a mental health facility.
Judge Dravitzki suppressed other details of the case.
A Givealittle page has been set up to help Graham Dickason with “funeral expenses, travel and accommodation costs for family members”.
The fundraising page was set up by other South African’s living in Timaru.
More than $7000 has been donated since the page opened yesterday.
Where to get help:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633 or text 234 (available 24/7)
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (12pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 or text 4202 (available 24/7)
• Anxiety helpline: 0800 269 4389 (0800 ANXIETY) (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
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