Murder case mom moved to hospital

2014-04-30 00:00

TANIA Clarence (42) has been sent to a secure hospital under Britain’s Mental Health Act after her appearance at a London court yesterday on charges of murdering her three terminally disabled children.

Her four-year-old daughter, Olivia, and her three-year-old twin sons, Ben and Max, all suffered type II spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic condition that can cause fatal respiratory problems and shorten life expectancy. None of the children was expected to live past the age of five.

Police officers found their bodies in the Clarences’ up-market home in New Malden, London, last week after an unknown person had called them at 9.30 pm on April 22.

Clarence was treated for minor injuries at St George’s hospital in Tooting, south London, and then arrested. She was subsequently charged with three counts of murder.

Clarence, who had given up her career as a graphic artist to care for her children full time, was waiting at the scene.

She yesterday applied for bail at the Central Criminal Court through a video link from the HMP Bronzefield prison in Surrey.

The Guardian reported that Judge Brian Barker had denied Clarence’s bail application, but agreed for her to be detained in hospital because it was an exceptional case and because of her need for immediate treatment.

“There is a combination of circumstances here that makes this an exceptional case and allows this court to take an exceptional course. It isn’t bail, but what we are doing is ordering for her to be subject to a section 35 order under the Mental Health Act so she can then be remanded effectively for review of her condition.”

The case will be reviewed in 28 days.

Although Clarence did not appear physically in court, her husband, Gary (43), and their oldest daughter, Taya (8), sat in the public gallery with friends and family. He was away with Taya in the family’s native South Africa at the time of the deaths.

The London Metropolitan Police are investigating the possibility that the children were smothered.

The first postmortem examinations were, however, inconclusive. Toxicology tests are now being done. A plea and case management hearing will be held at the Old Bailey on July 15.

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