The parents of three children found dead at their home in New Malden both wept in court as their mother faced three counts of murder.

Accused Tania Clarence, 42, started crying as soon as she stepped in to the dock at Wimbledon Magistrates' Court. She was unable to control herself after looking across to the public gallery where her husband Gary Clarence, a director of the City bank Investec, sat watching proceedings.

The 43-year-old initially remained impassive but then himself broke down in tears during the hearing in south London, at which he appeared to have support from the family and friends who packed in to the court room.

Tania Clarence spoke only to confirm her name, age and address. She did not enter a plea to the three counts of murder.

Police arrested Clarence after Olivia, four, and twins Ben and Max, aged three, were found dead at home in New Malden earlier this week.

The Clarences are both from South Africa and when the children died, husband Gary was visiting there with the couple's other child - a healthy eight-year-old girl called Taya. Neighbours described the family as "lovely".

Olivia, Ben and Max are understood to have been disabled and suffered from spinal muscular atrophy which left them with little control over their movements. The Clarences moved in after decking out the property with mobility equipment.

Tania Clarence will appear at the Old Bailey next month.