New Malden deaths: Bodies of three children may have been in home for three days


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The Independent Online

The bodies of three children allegedly killed by their mother could have lain undiscovered at the family home for three days, a court heard on Friday.

Tania Clarence, 42, is charged with murdering her three-year-old twin sons, Ben and Max, and four year-old daughter, Olivia, at their London home sometime between Sunday and Tuesday night, the Mirror reported.

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 control of their movements and can drastically shorten life expectancy.

Mrs Clarence appeared in court on Friday, accused of three counts of murdering a child aged over one year old between 20 April and 23 April this year.

She wept as she spoke only to confirm her name, age and address. No formal plea was entered and Mrs Clarence was remanded in custody.

Her investment banker husband, Gary, 43, also broke down in tears during the brief hearing.

Police discovered the children's bodies after being 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 night. Mrs Clarence was arrested shortly afterwards.

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

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 9 May."

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

Additional reporting by Press Association

Read more: New Malden mother charged with murder