Murder-accused SA mom moved to hospital

2014-04-29 14:51
Gary Clarence with his sons Ben and Max. (Facebook)

Gary Clarence with his sons Ben and Max. (Facebook)

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London - A South African woman accused of murdering her three young disabled children in London will be moved to a secure hospital for immediate treatment for mental health problems, a court heard on Tuesday.

Tania Clarence, 42, sobbed quietly as she appeared via video link from prison, where she is being held on suspicion of killing her 3-year-old twin sons, Ben and Max, and 4-year-old daughter Olivia.

The children were most likely suffocated, prosecutors told the hearing at a court in London, although further tests are being carried out.

All three suffered from Type 2 spinal muscular atrophy - a genetic condition which leaves children with little control of their movements and can drastically shorten their life expectancy.

Clarence was detained after the three bodies were found at the family's home in New Malden, southwest London, on 22 April.

'Overriding need for immediate treatment'

She will now be moved to a secure hospital under Britain's Mental Health Act after Judge Brian Barker said he had heard evidence suggesting an "overriding need for immediate treatment".

Clarence's investment banker husband, Gary Clarence, 43, watched the hearing from the public gallery.

At the time of the children's deaths he was away in South Africa, the couple's home country, with their eldest daughter Taya.

Prosecuting lawyer Zoe Johnson said post-mortem examinations on the bodies indicated that "the provisional cause of death is probably suffocation".

She added: "Whether that was associated with some form of intoxication is yet to be determined."

- Health24: Spinal muscular atrophy.

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