UK & World News

  • 24 April 2014, 1:44

Mother Held As Three 'Disabled' Children Dead

A mother has been arrested on suspicion of murdering three young children at a house in southwest London.

Tania Clarence, 42, cared full-time for the three children, who are understood to have suffered from a life-limiting genetic condition.

Officers discovered the bodies when they were called to a large, semi-detached home in Thetford Road, New Malden, at around 9.30pm on Tuesday.

Sky sources say the three children - a four-year-old girl and two three-year-old boys - were disabled and had "life-limiting genetic conditions".

Ms Clarence was initially taken to hospital with minor injuries and later discharged. She is in custody at a south London police station.

Chief Superintendent Glenn Tunstall told a news conference on Wednesday afternoon officers are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.

He said specialist detectives are providing support to the family.

Sky's Joe Tidy, at the scene, said the couple moved into the house with their four children around six months ago.

They moved in after the £1.2m property was redeveloped with mobility equipment, including a lift.

Mr Clarence, a director at Investec Bank, and his eldest child were abroad, and are travelling back today.

His company said in a statement: "Gary Clarence is a valued colleague and has worked with us for many years.

"We do not know the facts at this time but our thoughts are with the Clarence family.  We are doing all that we can to help Gary and his eldest child and ask that their privacy is respected."

Officers removed evidence bags from the property this morning. It is unclear whether the children's bodies are still inside the house.

Post-mortem examinations are to take place later.

Neighbour Michele Bacchus, 38, said two "very, very upset" women had asked to use her toilet last night, an hour after four police cars and an ambulance arrived.

The women, one in her 30s and the other in her 50s, said they were relatives of the Clarence family and had come from Cobham, Surrey.

One had a South African accent and the other was too upset to speak, she said.

Another neighbour, retired nurse Joy Devis, 86, said she had been in the house "once or twice" and described the Clarences as a "delightful couple".

"They'd got every kind of equipment they could possibly get for those children," she told Sky News.

"One I never saw out of a wheelchair; she was in her buggy. The other two were moving about with difficulty."

She said the family had help from a nanny and a maid.