Europe

Julian Stevenson hangs himself in French jail

The balcony of the flat where the bodies of two children, aged five and 10, were discovered.
Image caption The balcony of the flat where the bodies of two children, aged five and 10, were discovered.

A Briton who was accused of killing his two children in France has hanged himself in a French prison, officials have told the BBC.

Julian Stevenson's daughter, five, and son, 10, were killed with a knife and found on 18 May at his Lyon flat.

The 47-year-old had been in custody in Lyon since his arrest in May.

The Lyon prosecutor said Mr Stevenson hanged himself on Monday morning in a sports hall for inmates held in solitary confinement.

A post-mortem examination will be held later.

A UK Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are aware of the death of a British national in detention in France on 30 December. We are providing consular assistance to the family."

'Roller skates'

Mr Stevenson had been in a bitter dispute with his French wife, from whom he was divorced, over custody rights, said BBC Paris correspondent High Schofield.

Our correspondent said the day that he saw the children was the first time in three years he had been allowed access to them without another person being present.

News agency AFP said that CCTV footage from earlier in the day had shown him buying them sweets and his son and daughter holding pink balloons.

He was then accused of killing the two children with a knife at his flat.

Neighbours said at the time that he then fled on roller skates.

The children's mother raised the alarm later that day after arriving at the home the family used to share.

Mr Stevenson was arrested later that day in the centre of Lyon, and later charged over the deaths.

He was believed to have lived in France for some time and was unemployed.

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