malden flowers
Flowers and toys are left outside a house where the bodies of three children were found, in New Malden, southwest London. A 43-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion on murder after the death of a four-year-old girl and two boys, both aged threeReuters

The bodies of three disabled children allegedly killed by their mother could have lain undiscovered for up to three days, a court has heard.

Three-year-old twins Max and Ben and their sister Olivia, four, were found smothered to death in the family's £2 million home in New Malden, south-west London, on Tuesday.

They all suffered from "floppy baby syndrome", which leaves children with little control of their movements and can drastically shorten life expectancy.

The children's mother, Tania Clarence, 43, appeared in court on Friday, accused of three counts of murdering a child over one year between April 20 and 23.

She wept in the dock, and spoke only to confirm her details. No formal plea was entered. Her husband, Gary, 43, an investment banker, also broke down in tears during the hearing.

Police discovered the children's bodies after being called to the family's five bedroom home on Tuesday night.

Mr Clarence is said to have been in South Africa with his eldest daughter at the time.