Gary Clarence with his twin sons, Ben and Max, aged 3. Photo: Facebook


London - The South African mother accused of murdering her three disabled children has had her stay in hospital extended.

Tania Clarence, 42, was not at London’s Old Bailey to hear Justice Nicol order that she remain at an unidentified hospital to continue psychiatric treatment.

Technically, she is neither out on bail or in custody, in an unusual set of circumstances agreed by a previous judge at the end of April. Clarence is alleged to have killed daughter Olivia, 4, and twin boys Ben and Max, 3, by smothering them at her family home in New Malden, south London.

Her husband, Gary, 43, a director with Investec, was in South Africa on holiday with fourth child Taya at the time of the killings.

The three children suffered from spinal muscular dystrophy type two, which causes a range of physical disabilities and shortens life expectancy.

Gary Clarence was in court on Friday accompanied by his lawyer, Jim Sturman. He was not required to speak and did not talk to reporters.

The court was told that Tania Clarence would undergo further medical and psychiatric tests before another hearing next month.

Sturman said that it was in her best interests to remain under hospital care for a further four weeks.

“We want to preserve the status quo for this lady so she can continue receiving treatment at the hospital where she is now,” he said.

Sturman did not go into details about the case, but suggested that the defence might be considering a “diminished responsibility” plea.

Judge Nicol agreed with Sturman’s request that the mother stay in hospital under the Mental Health Act. This was not opposed by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Clarence is due to reappear in court on July 7 either in person or by video link from the hospital.

Saturday Star