UK

British Man 'Admits' To Slitting Children's Throats In France After Difficult Divorce

19/05/2013 21:35 BST

A British father has admitted slitting the throats of his two young children in France following a difficult divorce, sources have said.

The 47-year-old is alleged to have killed his daughter, five, and son, 10, after he was entrusted with them for the first time since separating from his French wife.

It is thought she discovered the bloody scene when she arrived at his flat yesterday afternoon and found her former husband standing on the stairway in blood-stained clothes.

Reports suggested she had gone to his home, in Saint-Priest, to the south-east of Lyon, after he failed to return the children following the visit.

The man, who has not been named, was later seen fleeing the area, apparently on roller skates, according to local reports.

He was tracked down by police and taken into custody yesterday evening and is understood to have admitted the killings.

A police source said: "We believe the man was looking after the children for the first time since he divorced his wife.

"He was arrested at the end of yesterday afternoon."

Police were unable to confirm reports that a knife was recovered from the murder scene.

The British suspect is understood to have been living in France for some time, possibly around 10 years.

According to local reports, he and his former wife, an assistant accountant, had gone through a bitter divorce.

She was awarded custody of the children following their separation and moved to live in Isere, a region to the south-east of Lyon, while he continued to live in the flat in the four-storey building.

Ahmed Benguedda, a former neighbour of the family, said his seven-year-old daughter used to play with the two victims, whom he described as "well adjusted".

"The people who live here are all in a state of shock," he told the Parisien newspaper.

The British suspect would usually be expected to appear in court in Lyon tomorrow morning. However, it is unclear whether the hearing will go ahead on what is a public holiday in France.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We understand a British national has been arrested in France.

"We are in touch with the French authorities and await the outcome of their investigation.

"We stand ready to provide consular assistance."