Gary Clarence with his 3-year-old twins Ben and Max.

London - A South African woman appeared in a British court on Friday for the murder of her three severely disabled children.

Tania Clarence, 42, is accused of killing three-year-old twin sons, Ben and Max, and four-year-old daughter Olivia, who all suffered from a incurable genetic disorder called spinal muscular atrophy, which causes the muscles to waste away.

The children were found in their pyjamas at the family’s London home on Tuesday evening and had allegedly been smothered.

According to Mail Online, the mother-of-four, who was taken into court covered in a fluorescent jacket, cried as soon as she saw her investment banker husband Gary Clarence, 43, who flew home to Britain from South Africa on Thursday after a holiday with their eldest daughter.

Mr Clarence, 43, was on holiday with his 8-year-old daughter, staying at the family home in Bela-Bela, Limpopo.

His wife is reportedly from Cape Town.

The father hugged relatives as he arrived in court on Friday morning and sat a few metres from his wife during the two-minute hearing. He had bloodshot eyes and his hands shook, the report said.

Mrs Clarence sobbed uncontrollably throughout court proceedings and locked eyes with her husband as she struggled to confirm her name, address and date of birth to magistrates.

She was remanded in custody and will appear at the Old Bailey on May 9.

Scotland Yard confirmed in a statement on Friday morning that Clarence had been charged with three counts of murder.

Post-mortem examinations began on Thursday on the bodies, who were found in the five-bedroomed family home in the south London suburb of New Malden, and have yet to be completed. - IOL, Sapa-AFP