Mom pleads guilty to manslaughter

South African mother Tania Clarence pleaded not guilty to murder charges in a UK court.

The London home of South African couple Gary and Tania Clarence, where three of their young children were killed on 22 April 2013. The mother has been arrested for their murders. Picture: AFP.

LONDON - South African mother Tania Clarence on Monday pleaded guilty to the "manslaughter" of her three disabled children in a London court.

She admitted to the lesser charge but pleaded not guilty to murder.

The bodies of her three young children, four-year-old Olivia, and three-year-old twins Max and Ben, were discovered in the family's New Malden home in April.

Clarence's husband and eldest daughter were on holiday in South Africa when the crime took place.

Gary Clarence smiled and waved as his wife was lead into court.

The court ordered she be held in a secure hospital until 19 September when she's due to find out whether she will face trial.

All three children suffered from spinal muscular atrophy, a severe life-limiting genetic disorder.

The former graphic designer quit her career to care for the children.

The illness rendered the children unable to stand and they required constant attention, which their mother reportedly struggled to cope with.

It's understood the children were killed by suffocation.

A judge later took what he described as an "exceptional decision" to keep Clarence out of prison, citing the extraordinary circumstances of the case.

As a result, the defendant was held in a secure hospital under the UK's Mental Health Act.