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Tania Clarence, who killed her 3 disabled children, sentenced to hospital order

(103 Posts)
Spero Tue 18-Nov-14 14:08:31

This is such a horrible and sad case.

I have just been reading this

and what struck me was what her solicitor said:

"Tania's depression was certainly not assisted by the constant pressure placed on the family by some individuals within the medical profession and social services who could not agree with Tania and Gary Clarence's stance of prioritising quality of life for their children and who were not readily willing to submit the children to operations and other interventions that they felt were not appropriate in the circumstance," he added.

He said Mr Clarence was assisting Kingston Borough Council in their serious case review of the case but wanted to make clear that allegations of neglect had been "wholly unfounded".

This seems to have uncomfortable echoes of the Aysha King case and professionals using the threat of care proceedings to get parents to comply with certain treatment regimes.

Interested to know what others think.

26Point2Miles Tue 18-Nov-14 14:45:33

I read it too

whole situation was very sad.

as ive never used NHS much I'm inclined tobelieve the medical professionals know best. but until in that situation with a sick child,then I don't know

Spero Tue 18-Nov-14 14:48:24

It just worries me that there seems to be people 'fighting' for a particular view and not apparently being able to discuss it and reach an outcome that's best for the children. I would expect the parents to be under a lot of stress but I would also hope that doctors and social workers could take a step back and not add to that.

OttiliaVonBCup Tue 18-Nov-14 14:52:38

Unbearably sad for the whole family.

There are shades of the Ashy case here though - seems the family and the health professionals had different views, which can't have helped.

26Point2Miles Tue 18-Nov-14 14:54:26

well,it sounds like the brunt of it fell to the mum,but I wonder why she didn't take medication for her depression. were they totally against all medical help

I hope the nanny is ok,believe she was at the scene when it was all discovered

PausingFlatly Tue 18-Nov-14 14:56:31

Where does it say she didn't take any medication for depression?

LittleBearPad Tue 18-Nov-14 14:58:47

Where has it said 26 that they were against medical treatment?

Poor woman, I hope she finds some peace.

26Point2Miles Tue 18-Nov-14 14:59:50

apologies,i meant therapy...

PausingFlatly Tue 18-Nov-14 15:01:42


5ChildrenAndIt Tue 18-Nov-14 15:04:17

Mmmm. I can see people feeling very powerless in the face of such severe life-limiting disability compounded with accusations of neglect from doctors. It sounds like this should trigger a review of whether the family were effectively advocated for in their dealings with the medical profession.

Spero Tue 18-Nov-14 15:04:41

What worries me is why there seemed to be such a Them and Us attitude - I understood from what read that the parents wanted to give them a good quality of life but the doctors wanted more aggressive intervention. People were turning up at their house unannounced. It must have just added to the distress.

Spero Tue 18-Nov-14 15:06:18

5children - that's what I meant to say! You put it more clearly. I'm situations of such stress and sadness it's asking a lot for the parents to be their own and the children's advocates.

But talking of 'neglect' seems really inappropriate in the circs.

pissinmy2shoes Tue 18-Nov-14 15:07:06

poor children and poor father
i can not feel sorry for the mother she killed her defenceless children

PausingFlatly Tue 18-Nov-14 15:08:50

Are we reading the same article? I don't see any comment whatever about treatment for her depression.

Spero Tue 18-Nov-14 15:09:19

But if she hadn't been under such relentless pressure, do you hunk she could have found another way to deal with it all? It doesn't sound as if the professional intervention was helping this family.

PausingFlatly Tue 18-Nov-14 15:10:42

Spero, children, agree that involvement of agencies seems very problematic in this case.

I don't feel I can say more without knowing more. I instinctively feel the agencies were OTT, but know one should pre-judge.

PausingFlatly Tue 18-Nov-14 15:15:51

Is professional involvement ever supposed to help a family? I see time and again here that the agencies should be serving the children, rather than the family.

Which means if a doctor says "I say child's interest is X, parents are obstructing", there's not a lot SS can do other than follow the doctor's orders.

PausingFlatly Tue 18-Nov-14 15:21:19

shouldN'T prejudge

PandasRock Tue 18-Nov-14 15:25:52

This is such a sad case.

I have experience of being treated as though I am not acting in my (disabled) children's best interests, and it does leave you floundering, tbh.

With dd1 (severely autistic, will never live independently) when she was a toddler, when we were right in the middle of the diagnostic process (which in itself contributed to my depression - I was treated for years as though I was wanting something to be wrong with my child, in the name of managing waiting lists and budgets, because I was pushing for a dx) I was left without any support services (no speech therapy, no OT, no Portage, and the threat of dd1's 1:1 at preschool being withdrawn) because we had the temerity, as her parents, to research and fund a therapy for her that is not 'state approved' for want of a better term (not invasive, not harmful, no medication involved; it is a method of teaching using behavioural management). That nearly brought me to my knees. And left us questioning whether we were doing the right thing for dd1 since she was losing so much by us trying to help her (answer: yes, absolutely the right thing, but in the midst of appointments and statementing and sleepless nights - both dd1 and newborn dd2 - it left us in a really dark place).

With dd2 I was threatened with neglect charges because I ignored doctors advice. She was slow to gain weight, and at weaning she was on a dairy-free diet because she was intolerant. Her paed tried to insist I give her cows milk products to help her weight gain, and accused me of keeping er on a low fat diet am causing her issues. He also withheld test results which actually explained her issues, and insisted on repeating tests when the results did not fit what he wanted to see - yet I was the one in the wrong!

I can well believe that treatment by professionals may have contributed to the horrendous pressure that this family were under. My own experiences will have been nothing compared with what they were going through, but I can well believe that services do not always act I. The best interests of the famines they are supposed to be helping.

5ChildrenAndIt Tue 18-Nov-14 15:39:48

I do think doctors can often act in a very compartmentalised way - which is fundamentally different to the 'holistic' approach that a parent has to take.

26Point2Miles Tue 18-Nov-14 16:00:51

Articles differ slightly, I first read this on a different site to the link

Forgossake Tue 18-Nov-14 16:49:30

This case is heartbreaking. It's easy to feel no empathy for the mother but unless you have experienced what she has been through, with not one but three of her children, how can you judge?

To know that three of your precious children's lives will be short, and not only short but of poor quality, would be unbearable. Who knows how any of us would cope. I think I would lose my mind sad

Mumzy Tue 18-Nov-14 17:06:32

The SMA condition her dcs suffered from would probably have meant round the clock care with special feeding, breathing equipment, frequent chest infections and hospitalisations. Having been involved in the treatment children with this and similar conditions I can only sympathise with the mother as often it is physically and psychologically relentless. I have seen dcs with SMA admitted several times a year into ITU to have chest infections treated with the full knowledge that it will only get more frequent as the condition is degenerative. These dcs will also have endless hospital appointments since so many things are affected by SMA. I often think what are we doing to these dcs and why are we putting them and their dps through so much?

pissinmy2shoes Tue 18-Nov-14 17:06:34

when children are killed by their parents it is always heart breaking.

notthatshesaid Tue 18-Nov-14 17:21:47

I have every bit of sympathy for the mother. Unless anyone has experienced knowing three of their children are going to die slow horrible deaths one by one, you can't judge her. You have no right. A friend of mine lost two children to the same condition and i am in awe of her.

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