A British man yesterday confessed to killing his two children, aged five and 10, by cutting their throats, police sources said. The children’s bodies were discovered in a flat in a suburb of Lyon, France, on Sunday afternoon.
The man, aged 48, who has not been named, was divorced from his French wife and had a history of alcoholism and violence, according to police. The man’s former wife left him with the children for a solitary paternal access visit on Saturday for the first time since their divorce two years ago. She returned to his apartment at Saint-Priest to find him coming down the stairs in blood-splattered clothes.
Several witnesses reported seeing the man fleeing the scene on roller-skates. Police later discovered the bodies inside the apartment. A knife, possibly the murder weapon, was found nearby.
The man was arrested by police within hours in the centre of Lyon. He had been living in France for many years. A police official said: “We believe the man was looking after the children alone for the first time since his divorce from his wife… Until now, he has only had the right to see them in the presence of a third party.”
An official in the Lyon prosecutor’s office said that the man had not explained his actions but it was “evidently linked to his acrimonious separation [from his wife] and to parental visiting rights which he considered insufficient”. According to local reports, the pair had been through a “difficult” divorce, after which the woman was awarded custody of the children.
In 2010, the father’s rights to see the children had been curtailed by court order after an “episode of violence” with his wife. A neighbour, Ahmed Benguedda, said the couple divorced in 2011 because the man was “drinking heavily” and had “taken his fists to” his wife. The mother took her two children to live in the French Alps. The father remained in Lyon.