UK & World News

  • 31 December 2013, 18:23

Child Killer Father Hangs Himself In Jail

A father who cut his children's throats after a custody battle with his French former wife has hanged himself in prison, according to legal officials in France.

Julian Stevenson was living in the French city of Lyon when he slit 10-year-old Matthew and five-year-old Carla's throats with a kitchen knife in May.

The 47-year-old, who had a history of violence and alcoholism, murdered his children in a fit of rage then fled the scene on rollerskates.

He was discovered moments later walking the suburban streets covered in blood.

Stevenson had been embroiled in a bitter custody battle with his assistant accountant former wife and was banned from having contact with his children without a third person present in 2010.

However, this order was partially reversed in the weeks before the murder, and Stevenson was believed to be having his first visit alone with his children when he killed them.

In the hours before their deaths Stevenson, an unemployed former haulage firm manager, was captured on CCTV in a bakery with them buying sweets - they were each carrying a balloon.

But Stevenson's former wife, Stephanie, whom he had badly beaten in 2005 and 2010, became anxious about the visit and arrived at his Lyon flat to find him in the stairwell of the four-storey block covered in blood.

Stevenson, who had been living in France for a decade, appeared briefly in court in May and was being held in Corbas prison in Lyon where he was found hanged on Monday.

A source at the local public prosecutors' office told the news agency AFP: "He hanged himself on Monday in a sports hall reserved for inmates held in solitary confinement."

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