Father kills children on first visit after divorce

The apartment block near Lyon where the bodies of the two children were found. Picture: Getty Images
The apartment block near Lyon where the bodies of the two children were found. Picture: Getty Images
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A BRITISH father has admitted killing his two young children in France after a difficult divorce, sources in the country said last night.

The 47-year-old is alleged to have killed his daughter, five, and son, ten, 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.

Sources said yesterday the woman, who has not been named, 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 had also not been named last night, 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 ten years.

According to local reports, he and his former wife, an assistant accountant, had gone through a bitter divorce and she was awarded custody of the children following their separation.

She is then said to have 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 said.

The British suspect would usually be expected to appear in court in Lyon this morning. However, last night it was 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.”