The British public is of two minds about Tania Clarence, the investment banker’s wife who suffocated her three young children.
There are those in the United Kingdom and around the world who view the South African native as an entitled monster; a woman who would rather see her children dead than turned over to child services.
Others view the 43-year-old mother in a more sympathetic light, especially after a history of mental health issues was revealed during her trial.
Tania Clarence smothered her three-year-old twins Ben and Max and four-year-old daughter Olivia in their beds during Easter.
Her eight-year-old daughter Taya was away on holiday with Tania’s husband, Gary Clarence.
She pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility.
Clarence has since blamed her actions on a combination of factors.
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) November 18, 2014
Tania Clarence said that she could not cope with the “unbearable pressure” placed on her by medical professionals about the care of her three youngest children.
The three of them suffered from spinal muscular dystrophy type two, a medical condition which left them unable to stand, walk, or even feed themselves.
Persons diagnosed with this hereditary disease rarely live beyond young adulthood.
Though the affluent couple lived in a multi-million dollar home and had a nanny to aid in child care, Tania Clarence said that she struggled to provide the children the proper care.
At least, in accordance with the demands made by doctors and various other medical professionals.
Lessons must be learned: Husband stands by depressed wife Tania Clarence who killed their three children http://t.co/NyBmJOrEun
— Daily Express (@Daily_Express) November 18, 2014
In all, nearly 60 medical authorities had interacted with the Clarences; there was often a clash between the parents and the medical authorities as to what was best for the children.
Tania’s defense team claimed that the invasive nature of medical care and threats of invasive surgery on her children created a severe strain in a woman in the midst of a depressive episode.
The solution to Clarence’s problems became a fatalistic one.
The mother wrote a series of letters to her husband, during which time she suffocated her twins and then her daughter. She also attempted but failed to commit suicide.
Her husband Gary has forgiven his wife for her actions, and stood by her throughout the trial.
He hopes that “never again will a family endure the unbearable pressure that overwhelmed” his wife.
Tania Clarence will not serve jail time for her actions as a judge has sentenced her to be confined indefinitely to a psychiatric hospital.
Although Gary still loves and supports his wife, public sentiment toward the mother who killed her children isn’t so unanimous.
— Times LIVE (@TimesLIVE) November 19, 2014
The wealth and privilege enjoyed by Tania and Gary Clarence has led some to suspect she simply wanted get rid of the black mark on her family. Others said they had more than enough money to turn over care to professionals.
But others say that as a woman with mental health problems and a sense of hopelessness about the quality of life for her kids, Tania Clarence should be pitied far more than hated.