Mother who killed her three disabled children given hospital order

Depressed mother Tania Clarence, who smothered her three young disabled children as they slept before attempting suicide, was given a hospital order at the Old Bailey today after Judge Mr Justice Sweeney said she had been "overwhelmed".

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Dealing with the care of severely disabled children left Tania Clarence 'exhausted and burnt out'

A mother who smothered her three disabled children as they slept and then tried to commit suicide, was "exhausted and burnt out" from looking after the youngsters a court has heard.

Tania Clarence was given a hospital order after appearing at the Old Bailey today after Judge Mr Justice Sweeney said she had been "overwhelmed" by her situation.

ITV News Reporter Rebecca Barry reported from outside the Old Bailey:

Husband criticises authorities after wife's sentencing

The husband of a mother who killed her three disabled children has criticised medical professionals and social workers for contributing to the "unbearable pressure" that overwhelmed his wife.

In a statement issued through the family's solicitor, Tania Clarence's husband Gary said "lessons need to be learned" from the tragedy.

Tania's depression was certainly not assisted by the constant pressure placed on the family by some individuals within the medical profession and social services who could not agree with Tania and Gary Clarence's stance of prioritising quality of life for their children and who were not readily willing to submit the children to operations and other interventions that they felt were not appropriate in the circumstances.

– Clarence family

The solicitor added that Mr Clarence "hopes to be able to ensure that never again will a family have to endure the unbearable pressure that eventually overwhelmed the resources of his wife."


Family: Unbearable pressure overwhelmed Tania

Tania Clarence became overwhelmed by the enormity of caring for her three disabled children, her family has said.

Clarence's investment banker husband Gary supported his wife throughout what his solicitor described as "one of the saddest" cases to come before the criminal courts.

Gary Clarence seen arriving at the Old Bailey today. Credit: PA Wire

"The Clarence family, and in particular Tania Clarence, dedicated their lives to the care and welfare of their three severely disabled children," solicitor Richard Egan said on behalf of the Clarence family.

"Her love, commitment and tenacity in the face of the overwhelming responsibilities such care entailed was extraordinary.

"Her daily struggle eventually overwhelmed Tania's ability to cope with the enormity of the task she faced.

"Ultimately, her story of dedication and love became a story of despair and utter hopelessness."

Tania Clarence suffered 'major depressive episode'

A mother who killed her three disabled children was "grief stricken" that they were destined to die before her, a judge has said.

Tania Clarence, 43, was sentenced to a hospital order today for smothering Olivia, four, and three-year-old twins Ben and Max last April.

Mr Justice Sweeney said there was "clear and convincing" evidence that Clarence was suffering a "major depressive episode".

The prosecution accept that you loved all four of your children – indeed there is a substantial body of evidence that they were happy and well looked after - and that you were grief stricken that Olivia Max and Ben were destined to die early and before you.

If you had not been suffering from mental illness at the time, you would not have killed your children.

– Mr Justice Sweeney

Mother given hospital order for killing three disabled kids

Tania Clarence, the mother who killed her three disabled children before attempting suicide, has been sentenced to a hospital order.

Tributes outside the property in New Malden where Tania Clarence killed three of her children. Credit: PA Wire

Judge Justice Sweeney said she had been "overwhelmed" when she killed Olivia, four, and three-year-old Ben and Max as they slept at their home in New Malden, south west London in April.

All three of the children suffered from the life-limiting condition SMA type 2.

During a hearing at the Old Bailey last week, Ms Clarence wept as details of how she smothered her twin sons with a nappy emerged.

The prosecution described how the 43-year-old took the opportunity to kill the children when her husband and eldest daughter went on holiday.


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