UK & World News

  • 29 April 2014, 15:20

Children Murders: Mum Sent To Secure Hospital

A woman accused of murdering three of her children has been released from prison and sent to a secure hospital for immediate treatment.

Tania Clarence, 42, sobbed quietly as she appeared via video-link at the Old Bailey, accused of killing three-year-olds Ben and Max, and four-year-old daughter Olivia, at their home in the southwest London suburb of New Malden.

In an unusual move, Recorder of London Judge Brian Barker ruled Clarence could be released from prison and put into a secure hospital under the Mental Health Act.

"It seems to me, having heard submissions on both sides and having discussed the matter with medical experts, there is an overriding need for immediate treatment in a secure setting," he told the court.

"There is a combination of circumstances here that makes this an exceptional case and allows this court to take an exceptional course.

"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."

The judge said the order should be processed by the end of the day and the case would be reviewed again in 28 days' time.

Looking pale and emotional, Clarence spoke in a strong South African accent as she confirmed her name and watched the proceedings from HMP Bronzefield in Surrey.

Her husband, Gary Clarence, sat in the public gallery during the bail hearing.

He was away with the couple's eldest daughter, Taya, at the time of the deaths.

His wife is accused of three counts of murdering a child aged over one year old between April 20 and April 23 this year.

All three young children suffered from type 2 spinal muscular atrophy - a genetic condition also known as floppy baby syndrome.

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