Mother remanded over child murders

Gary Clarence (centre) leaves Wimbledon Magistrates Court, south west London, where his wife Tania appeared in court charged with murdering three of their children
Gary Clarence (centre) leaves Wimbledon Magistrates Court, south west London, where his wife Tania appeared in court charged with murdering three of their children
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A WOMAN wept as she appeared in court charged with the murder of her three young disabled children while her devastated husband looked on.

Tania Clarence, 42, glanced over at her husband and broke down in tears as she stood in the dock yesterday accused of killing her three-year-old twin sons Ben and Max and four-year-old daughter Olivia at their home.

Her investment banker husband Gary also broke down in tears as he locked eyes with his wife from his seat in the public gallery during the brief hearing.

Wearing a black suit and white shirt, 43-year-old Mr Clarence walked into Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court in south-west London supported by a group of people believed to be family and friends. He hugged two women in the public gallery before sitting down to watch the proceedings.

Wearing a grey top with a white long-sleeved top underneath, his wife looked fragile as she stood in the glass-fronted dock, accused of the triple murder of the couple’s children.

Her voice shaking with emotion, she spoke only to confirm her name, age and address.

She is accused of three counts of murdering a child aged over a year old between April 20 and April 23.

All three young children were said to have suffered from spinal muscular atrophy.

Also known as floppy baby syndrome, the genetic condition leaves children with little con-
trol of their movements and can drastically shorten life expectancy.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police were called to the family’s five-bedroom home in Thetford Road in the wealthy south-west London suburb of New Malden at 9.30pm on Tuesday where they discovered the bodies.

Mrs Clarence, who also has a healthy eight-year-old daughter, was arrested shortly afterwards.

Mr Clarence, who works at banking firm Investec in the City, is thought to have been away in the family’s native South Africa with their eldest daughter at the time of the deaths.

No formal plea was entered during yesterday’s hearing and Mrs Clarence was remanded in custody.

The chairwoman of the bench, Fiona Abbott, said: “For these three charges you will be sent to the Central Criminal Court at the Old Bailey for a preliminary hearing on May 9.

“There will be a bail application at the Central Criminal Court at 10am on April 29.”

Two uniformed police officers stood guard outside the courtroom and the public gallery was packed with press during the short hearing.

Mrs Clarence is originally from South Africa and moved to Britain with her husband several years ago.

Mr Clarence was escorted out of the magistrates’ court by police officers and driven away in a black taxi.

He did not say comment as he walked down the court steps and through a scrum of photographers.

A female police officer stopped traffic to allow Mr Clarence to be driven off following the court hearing.