Mother pleads manslaughter after suffocating her three disabled children

Mother pleads manslaughter after suffocating her three disabled children

Tania Clarence (42), allegedly suffocated her three disabled children then attempted to commit suicide at the family home in New Malden, Surrey. Clarence now faces a reduced charge of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to a “major depressive episode”.

Tania and Gary Clarence discovered that their four-year-old daughter Olivia was suffering from the life-limiting genetic condition, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) Type 2, whilst pregnant with twin sons Ben and Max. The twins were also later diagnosed with the same condition. Taya Grace (8), their eldest daughter was born without any disabilities.

At 9:30pm on April 22nd 2014, the Clarence’s nanny and a neighbour entered their home to find a note written in Afrikaans. Mrs Clarence was discovered “bleeding and crying” in her  bedroom.

The three disabled children were later found suffocated in their beds.

The children’s father, Gary Clarence, and eldest daughter, Taya-Grace, were at a family gathering in South Africa at the time.

Defending QC, Jim Sturman, told the court: “This offending did occur whilst Mrs Clarence was suffering from an abnormality of the mind. She was manifesting stress throughout the life of the children by their suffering, and caring for three children with this condition was exhausting, distressing, debilitating and turned out to be overwhelming.”

Clarence did not appear in court, she is currently being detained at a secure hospital under the Mental Health Act. She will be sentenced on 14th November 2014.

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