SA mom pleads not guilty to murdering kids

2014-07-07 12:07
Tributes are placed outside a house in New Malden, south London, after three children were found dead at the house. (Carl Court, AFP)

Tributes are placed outside a house in New Malden, south London, after three children were found dead at the house. (Carl Court, AFP)

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London - A South African-born mother accused of killing her three young disabled children in the UK has pleaded not guilty to murder, but guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The British Press Association reported that Tania Clarence, 42, wept in the dock on Monday as she denied murdering Olivia, 4, and 3-year-old twins Ben and Max.

Sapa reported that a date was set for a three to four-week trial to start on 21 February next year. A further pre-trial hearing will take place on 3 October.

According to tweets from the British court where she appeared on Monday, prosecutors will decide whether to pursue a trial.

eNCA correspondent Olly Barratt tweeted that Clarence's husband, Gary, was in the Old Bailey central criminal courts.

According to Catherine Drew, Clarence was tearful and emotional as she pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Clarence was remanded to a secure hospital after allegedly murdering her three youngest children by suffocating them in April. The 4-year-old girl and twin 3-year-old boys suffered from spinal muscular atrophy.

Reports at the time indicated that Clarence was critically sleep-deprived and depressed, as the children required hourly medication and had to be tube-fed.

Her husband was in South Africa with their eldest daughter at the time.

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