Three children found dead in London

Gary Clarence and his twin children. Photograph: Facebook A 42-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of murder after three ...

Gary Clarence and his twin children. Photograph: Facebook
A 42-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of murder after three disabled children were found dead at their home in south London.
The bodies of a four-year old girl and twin boys, aged three, who all suffered from a genetic condition described as life limiting, were discovered after police were called to a large semi-detached home on a street in New Malden, south-west London on Tuesday evening.
The Metropolitan police said a 42-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of murder after being treated for minor injuries. The woman was being held for questioning in a south London police station.
In a brief statement outside the home, Chief Superintendent Glenn Tunstall offered sincere condolences from the police “to the family and friends affected by this tragic incident”.
He added: “I would like to reassure the local community that we have made an arrest in this incident and we are not looking for any further suspects.”
The parents were named locally as Tania and Gary Clarence. The electoral roll confirmed they are registered to that address.
Gary Clarence, 43, a trained lawyer and director at Investec bank, is making his way back from South Africa where he had been on holiday with the couple’s oldest child.
A neighbour, who did not wish to be identified, said the family had moved into the five-bedroom house a year ago.
She said the three younger children had had genetic disorders. The eldest child, thought to be around seven or eight years old, was in good health, she said.
The family’s five-bedroom home in Thetford Road had been extensively refurbished within the last year. The work included the installation of ramps and lifts for the three children, who were thought to use wheelchairs. The family are understood to have had a nanny and carers.
Retired nurse and health visitor Joy Devis, 86, said the news of the deaths was a "huge surprise and shock".
She said: "They are a delightful couple, they seemed to be very happy.
"Their children were super, lovely children. They were very happy, there was a very nice atmosphere there."
In a statement Investec said: "Gary Clarence is a valued colleague and has worked with us for many years. We do not know the facts at this time but our thoughts are with the Clarence family.
"We are doing all that we can to help Gary and his eldest child and ask that their privacy is respected." 
Neighbour Michele Bacchus, 38, described how two distraught women, who described themselves as relatives of the family, asked to use her lavatory shortly after police were called to the scene.
She said she and other neighbours had come out on to the street after four police cars and an ambulance had arrived.
"Some neighbours explained they thought it was the family with three disabled children," she said.
About one hour later, she said, she was outside when two women came up and spoke to her. She said one was in her 50s and one in her 30s.
"They said they were relatives and that they had come from Cobham," she said. "They were very very upset. The younger one was in shock. Well they were both in shock. The younger one was crying silently. She didn't speak."
She said she didn't question them about what had happened and they did not speak to her about it.
Another neighbour of Tania Clarence said: "She is a good neighbour. Very friendly."
She said the couple's younger girl was a wheelchair user and the twin boys were also physically disabled. The family moved in to the extensively renovated property less than a year ago having had it installed with lifts and ramps, she said. "They had lifts installed because of the children."
"He worked in the City. She was at home. She had carers in. She had a lot of help. But I don't think they were there at night just during the day," said the neighbour. 
"They are a very, very lovely couple. I saw them all the time about with their children," the neighbour said.
Ben Worsfield, 25, who lives nearby said he chatted with the father recently. 
"He was talking about having his driveway done. He seems quite friendly. He said how much he had paid for his driveway, about £40,000 or £50,000 I think.
"I think he was quite wealthy".
Worsfield, whose son Leon, 10, and daughter Casey, 2, laid a teddy bear at the house, said he got chatting because "an old man was drawing his house on the other side of the road".
"He saw him and came out and asked what he was doing. The man showed him and he asked if he could buy the painting off the old man.
"He seemed like a friendly guy. I never saw his wife. I have just come here to pay my respects."
Police officers were standing on the doorstep of the three-storey Victorian house on Wednesday morning. 
Scene-of-crime officers were seen leaving the property carrying evidence bags.
The Metropolitan police said no more details were being released about the incident.
The local Liberal Democrat MP, Ed Davey, spoke of his shock. Writing on Twitter, he said: "Awful news about the three children found dead in house in New Malden. Thoughts are with family, friends and neighbours."
Gary Clarence is believed to be on his way back from South Africa, where he had been on holiday with his oldest daughter. A biography on ​the firm's website said Clarence leads a team of five corporate broking specialists who advise clients on buying and selling companies, raising money and strategic reviews.
Clarence qualified as a solicitor at Stellenbosch University in South Africa and practised law before moving into the world of business and finance. He completed an MBA at the acclaimed Netherlands Business School, based at Nijenrode University – the only private university in the Netherlands – and joined Investec in 1999.
He spent two years working in corporate finance for the firm and was based in their US office for 18 months, before returning to the UK, where he has specialised in the healthcare sector since 2004. ​The biography added that Clarence is a keen golfer. 


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