Deaths of three children 'extreme tragedy' say family

Gary Clarence and his two sons
Image caption It is believed Gary Clarence was on holiday with family members at the time of the deaths

The father of three children found dead at their London home has returned from South Africa, as police continue to question his wife over the deaths.

Tania Clarence, 42, is being held on suspicion of murder after a girl, aged four, and twin boys, aged three, were found dead in New Malden on Tuesday.

The children were named as Max, Ben and Olivia Clarence in a statement released by solicitors on behalf of the family.

The statement said it was an "extreme tragedy" with devastating consequences.

Gary Clarence, who works as a director at City bank Investec, was on holiday with members of his family 100 miles north of Johannesburg when UK authorities told him about his children.

Police have said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.

The children had the life-limiting genetic disorder Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

Police say post-mortem examinations will take place at Great Ormond Street later.

Officers were called to the family home in Thetford Road at about 21:30 BST and found the children dead.

Mrs Clarence was taken to hospital for treatment to minor injuries and later discharged and arrested on suspicion of murder.

She remains in custody at a south London police station.

The statement from the Clarence family requested privacy following the deaths.

A close friend told the BBC Mr Clarence was in a "complete state of shock".

The friend said the three children had Spinal Muscular Atrophy and the diagnosis when Tania Clarence was pregnant with twins had "hit the family very hard" and been a "massive blow".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police said the children's post-mortem examinations will take place later

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