A British father is being questioned in France on suspicion of slitting the throats of his two children, local police said.
The recently divorced man is alleged to have killed the youngsters – aged five and ten – after he was entrusted with them for the first time since separating from his wife.
Their bodies were discovered in a flat in a suburb of Lyon yesterday afternoon.
The man, who has not been named, was taken into custody after his former wife arrived at the building to find him on the stairs wearing blood-stained clothes, according to local reports.
Several witnesses claimed to have seen him leave the scene, in Saint-Priest, to the south-east of Lyon, on roller skates, it was reported.
The father, who is understood to have been unemployed, was taken into custody following a manhunt yesterday evening.
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 say where the man came from in Britain or give any further details relating to his children.
According to local reports, he and his former wife, an assistant accountant, had gone through a “difficult” 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.
A British Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are aware of the reports and we are looking into them.”