Child murders accused mother Tania Clarence held in secure hospital

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image captionThe children's father, Gary Clarence, was in South Africa at the time of the deaths

A mother charged with killing three of her children has been remanded under the mental health act to a secure hospital.

Tania Clarence, 42, appeared at the Old Bailey via a video-link accused of killing her three-year-old twin sons and four-year-old daughter.

The disabled children were found at their home in New Malden, south-west London, on 22 April.

The bail hearing also heard the cause of death was probably suffocation.

Tests due

Mrs Clarence is accused of three counts of murdering a child aged over one year old between 20 April and 23 April.

Her sons Ben and Max and daughter Olivia all suffered from type 2 spinal muscular atrophy.

Judge Brian Barker, the Recorder of London, allowed Mrs Clarence to be released from prison, and remanded her to a secure hospital because it was an "exceptional case" and to allow her to receive hospital treatment.

"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," he said.

The court heard police are awaiting the results of toxicology tests on the children before a definite cause of death can be established.

The court heard the children's father Gary Clarence was away in the family's native South Africa with their eldest daughter, Taya, at the time of the deaths.

A hearing where Mrs Clarence could enter a plea will take place at the Old Bailey on 15 May.

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