A mother appeared in court distraught and sobbing as she faced charges of murdering her three young disabled children today (Friday).
Tania Kim Clarence, 42, from New Malden, south-west London, wept as she appeared in the glass panelled dock at Wimbledon magistrates' court.
The bodies of her four-year-old daughter, Olivia, and three-year-old twin sons, Max and Ben, were discovered when police were called to the family home on Tuesday night.
All three children had spinal muscular atrophy, a life-limiting progressive disease which can cause fatal respiratory problems, friends have said.
Clarence is charged with three counts that between 20 April 2014 and 23 April 2014 at the family home in New Malden she murdered Olivia Clarence, Ben Clarence and Max Clarence contrary to common law.
She was barely audible as she struggled to give her name, address and date of birth during the preliminary two-minute hearing.
Wearing a dark grey shirt, she sobbed as the charges were read aloud.
Her husband Gary, 43, a director of the City bank Investec, sat red-eyed in the public gallery, flanked by relatives including his sister Derri and brother Kevin.
Friends in the public gallery hugged him as he took his seat in court 7.
He is said to have been away on holiday visiting family in South Africa with the couple's eldest daughter, Taya, aged eight, when the three children died.
He is now back in the UK being supported by members of his family who flew back with him.
His eyes welled as he looked at his wife, a graphic artist, in the dock, while other relatives and supporters broke down in tears, unable to control their emotions.
Fiona Abbott, chair of the magistrates' bench, said the matter could only be dealt with by crown court, and sent the case to the Old Bailey for a preliminary hearing on 9 May.
A bail hearing has been listed for Tuesday 29 April.
Clarence was remanded in custody and led weeping from the glass-panelled dock.
The results of post-mortems carried out on the three children at Great Ormond Street hospital have not yet been released.