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A mother was arrested on suspicion of murder today after her three disabled children were found dead inside their £1.5million family home. Tania Clarence, 42, was held over the deaths of her daughter, four, and three-year-old twin sons, who were discovered in New Malden, south London, last night.

The Daddy and twin boys
The Daddy and twin boys

Graphic designer Mrs Clarence was taken to hospital at around 9.30pm with minor injuries and later arrested on suspicion of murder.

The three children all had a ‘life-limiting genetic condition‘, believed to be spinal muscular atrophy, which left them struggling to walk and speak, friends said.

Their investment banker father Gary Clarence, who works for City firm Investec, has been in South Africa, and is understood to be with the couple’s eldest daughter, eight, who is not disabled.

Neighbours left flowers, teddies and handwritten prayers outside their home today and described them as a ‘lovely family’.

One note left outside the Victorian property said: ‘RIP Angels, shine down on us from heaven and light up the starry sky’.

The family had moved into the property nine months ago after a major refurbishment, including a lift and ramps for their disabled children.

Blue and green toys belonging to the children could still be seen outside the extended property today.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: ‘The three children – a girl aged four and two boys aged three – were pronounced dead at the scene. Next of kin have been informed.

‘The woman, aged 42, was taken to hospital for treatment to minor injuries and later discharged.

‘She was arrested on suspicion of murder and taken into custody at a south London where she remains.

‘The Homicide and Major Crime Command is investigating and incident room has opened in Sutton under Detective Chief Inspector Diane Tudway.

‘Detectives are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident.’

Michele Bacchus, 38, said she was at home just a few doors away when two crying women knocked on her door at around 10.30pm.

She said: The younger woman was crying silently and couldn’t speak, the other had a South African accent.

‘We got the impression they had come here because of what had happened at the house.’

She continued: ‘They were sobbing and very upset. ‘I don’t know if it was them that the found the family. It was awful.’

Neighbours said their home had ‘transformed’ the area and the couple are ‘really lovely people’.  One said said the three younger children, three-year-old twin boys and the four-year-old girl were suffering from genetic disorders but the eldest child, eight, was in good health.

‘They are a very, very lovely couple. I saw them all the time about with their children’, she said. She said the father works in the City and the mother is a full-time carer for her children.

Neighbours said the family moved into the house about a year ago after it underwent a ‘massive’ refurbishment, including the installation of a lift.

The Police patrolling in the house where the crime  has taken place
The Police patrolling in the house where the crime has taken place

‘They are very nice people and very, very decent. She is such a lovely person -her life revolves around the children,’ one woman said. She said the family have a nanny and help from carers. Hayley Bullivant, 28, from New Malden, laid flowers on the driveway of the house in Thetford Road.

The former nanny, now mother to a 21-month-old son, said she did not know the family.‘It is not going to make any difference to the family but we wanted to show that we care,’ she said.

‘It is a tragedy and such a shock to wake up and read that this has happened on your doorstep.’  The family were said by one neighbour to have a live-in nanny and a maid.

‘The children were handicapped but despite this they seemed perfectly happy. I don’t think I ever saw the girl out of the buggy,’ said Joyce Davis, aged 86 years.

‘The boys could walk a little bit. The oldest girl was alright. I think she is with her father in South Africa.

‘They went over there a lot because they were South African.‘I last saw them a day or two ago and everything seemed fine.’I definitely got the impression that they were good parents and they were a happy family.

Ethel Winstanley, who lives opposite the couple, said she had met the family last summer and congratulated them on the ‘transformation’ of the house after its refurbishment.

‘The man was called Gary, that is all I know. We went across to say “Congratulations, you have made the street look wonderful”.’ Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said she met the couple a fortnight ago at a barbecue in the neighbourhood.

‘They were very friendly. He played golf and he had been playing golf that morning. ‘We were out last night dancing and when we came home there were police cars and ambulances outside.’