UK triple murder: Mother charged

Tania Clarence will appear in court today for the murder of three of her children.

Police forensic officers enter a house in New Malden, south London, on 23 April 2014 after three children were found dead. Picture: AFP.

LONDON - A 42-year-old South African woman, whose children were found dead earlier this week, has been charged with murder.

The children, a four-year-old girl and three-year-old twin boys, were found dead at their home in New Malden, South London.

Their mother Tania Clarence has since been arrested and charged in connection with their deaths.

She will appear before the Wimbledon Magistrates Court later today.

The graphic designer had given up her job to care for her three children full-time who had the life-limiting disorder, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

SMA is a genetic disease that causes muscle weakness and progressive loss of movement.

The illness rendered the children unable to stand and they required constant attention.

Tania's husband Gary was visiting relatives in Johannesburg at the time with the couple's eldest child who is thought not to have any health problems.

He was told of the deaths by police late on Tuesday.

Gary is the son of Brian Clarence who died of brain cancer in October and founded the biggest hotel-conference centre in Southern Africa, the Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre, with Gary's brother Kevin.

A statement released by Cape Town based law firm EQM Hunter on behalf of the family says they have undergone and suffered an extreme tragedy which left them under tremendous pressure and strain.

Meanwhile, it's being reported that Clarence tried to commit suicide shortly before her arrest.

Unconfirmed reports suggest she was found in the bathroom with slit wrists.

A British newspaper claims the three children, aged three and four, were suffocated in their beds while dressed in pyjamas.

It has also emerged the children may have been killed 24 hours before police were called to the south west London home by relatives who were worried as they hadn't been able to contact any of the family.

Clarence was treated in hospital before being arrested.

Officials are yet to confirm the claims.