British father in court over Lyon child killings

The children were found dead on the balcony of the flat in Lyon

A 47-year-old divorced British man living in France has been arrested on suspicion of killing his two children.

Julian Stevenson's daughter, aged five, and her brother, 10, were killed with a knife and their bodies found on Saturday at their father's Lyon flat.

He had been looking after the children over the weekend after separating from their French mother three years ago.

He appeared before prosecutors on Monday afternoon to discover if he would be charged with the murders.

A UK Foreign Office spokesman said it was in touch with French authorities and would provide consular assistance.

According to neighbours, Mr Stevenson fled the flat on roller skates, the BBC's Paris correspondent Christian Fraser said. He was arrested later on Saturday evening in the centre of Lyon.

"We are presently holding back from the charge of premeditated murder but this could always change in the light of more testimony," French news agency AFP quoted a prosecutor as saying.

"It's a bank holiday so the court house in Lyon is closed, the BBC's Christian Fraser said. "But they have to either release him or charge him within 48 hours."

Lyon courthouse Julian Stevenson arrived at the courthouse on Monday afternoon

Mr Stevenson arrived at the courthouse on Monday afternoon.

According to AFP, a judicial source said this was the first time the children had been left alone with their father since their parents' separation.

The children's mother raised the alarm on Saturday after arriving at the flat the family used to share.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are in touch with the French authorities and await the outcome of their investigation. We stand ready to provide consular assistance."

Mr Stevenson is believed to have been living in France for some time and was unemployed.

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