Mother killed her 3 children ‘out of desperation’

The husband of a depressed mother who smothered her three disabled children before attempting suicide has expressed hope that no family will have to endure the "unbearable pressure" that overwhelmed his wife.

Tania Clarence, 43, was handed a hospital order at the Old Bailey after admitting the manslaughter by diminished responsibility of Olivia, 4, and twins Ben and Max, 3, at her south west London home last Easter.

Afterwards, investment banker Gary Clarence said “lessons need to be learned” from his wife’s story of “dedication and love” which turned to “despair and utter hopelessness”.

In a statement issued by his solicitor, he blamed medical professionals and social services for contributing to Clarence’s depression.

The court has heard the children, who suffered from muscle-weakening condition MSA type-2, were found dead, tucked into their beds with toys arranged around their heads.

Days before the killings, Clarence’s husband took their eight-year-old daughter, who is not disabled, on a holiday to South Africa, leaving Clarence alone with her other children, having given the nanny a day off.

Sentencing her to a hospital order yesterday, Mr Justice Sweeney said there was “clear and convincing” evidence that she suffered a “major depressive episode”.

He said that while the Old Bailey was “not the forum” to judge the conduct of the health professionals and social workers, the effect of their actions on Clarence’s state of mind was an “important factor”.

A council spokesman confirmed a serious case review was under way.


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