Tania Clarence was arrested earlier this year on suspicion of murder for killing her three disabled children after allegedly having a breakdown about providing them care and treatment. Now, she won’t face murder charges.
Officials found the twin three year-old boys and their four-year-old sister dead in their apartment last night. Max, Ben and Olivia all reportedly were disabled and suffering from spinal muscular atrophy. Friends say Clarence was pregnant with the twin boys when she learned Olivia had the medical condition. Clarence has an older daughter, 8, who does not have the physical disability. The three children were believed to have had spinal muscular atrophy, which left Olivia in a wheelchair and the two boys barely able to move.
Now, new reports indicate the woman who killed her three disabled children “to end their suffering” will not face murder charges. Instead, she will be sent to a mental hospital rather than given a prison sentence.
Deeply troubled Tania Clarence, 42, smothered four year-old Olivia and three year-old twins Ben and Max after becoming overwhelmed by looking after their needs.
The children all suffered spinal muscular dystrophy, type two, and faced lives tragically shortened by their “debilitating” condition.
They were found dead at their home in Thetford Road, New Malden, south west London, on April 22 by the family’s devoted nanny and a neighbour.
Her husband Gary, a 43 year-old director at the City investment bank Investec, was in South Africa with the couple’s eldest child at the time.
Clarence also tried to take her own life by taking pills and cutting her wrist, saying: “I cannot live with the horror of what I have done.”
She was originally charged with murder but prosecutors today told London’s Old Bailey that they were accepting her pleas to the lesser charge of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Zoe Johnson QC, prosecuting, said: “At the time she killed her three children she was suffering from a major depressive episode which impaired her ability to form a rational judgement.
“Mrs Clarence had a long and firmly held belief that the quality of her children’s lives was more important than their longevity.
“She did not want her children’s suffering extended and her decision to do a positive act revealed that at the time she was unable to form a rational judgement.
“Although the term ‘mercy killing’ has no legal or psychiatric definition it is clear that Mrs Clarence killed her three children because she was depressed and she wanted to end their suffering.
“At the time she committed the act she could not see any alternative or any way out of their joint suffering, both her suffering and the suffering of her children.’
The “bitterly regretful” mum, who did not appear in court, will be sentenced on November 14.