THE mother of three severely disabled children found dead at a house in Surrey has been charged with their murder.
Tania Clarence (42) was arrested on Tuesday night after police were called to her home in New Malden, Surrey, where they discovered the bodies of four-year-old Olivia and three-year-old twins Ben and Max.
All three children had been suffering from a genetic condition known as spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and had not been expected to live beyond the age of five.
Mr Clarence had been on holiday with their eldest daughter in the family's native South Africa at the time of the tragedy.
Yesterday, a Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed that Mrs Clarence had been charged with three counts of murder.
In a brief statement, the spokesman said: "A woman arrested over the deaths of three children at a house in New Malden has been charged today.
"Mrs Tania Clarence (42) appears in custody at Wimbledon Magistrates Court on Friday, April 25, charged with three counts of murder.
"Post-mortem examinations of the children that began today are ongoing."
It is understood Mr Clarence was not allowed to see his wife after flying back to Britain before she was charged.
A source close to the family told reporters that Mr Clarence, who is being supported by his brother Kevin, sister Derri and mother Anne, was struggling to comprehend what had happened.
He said: "Gary is still really battling with it – he is in a real state." A statement on behalf of the family, issued by a law firm in Cape Town, said they had undergone an "extreme tragedy". It added: "This matter is an extremely exceptional one with devastating consequences and we thus reiterate the request for privacy for the family."Mrs Clarence had been pregnant with her twin boys when the family discovered during a holiday to South Africa that Olivia had a life-limiting genetic condition. Tragically, after her sons were born they too were diagnosed with SMA and the family were warned that it was unlikely they would live beyond their fifth birthday.
In 2011, the couple bought a large house in New Malden and spent hundreds of thousands of pounds converting it, in order to cater for the children's needs.
(© Daily Telegraph, London)