Briton who slit children's throats not charged with premeditated murder: French official

LYON (AFP) - French prosecutors said on Monday they were currently not charging a 48-year-old divorced Briton with premeditated murder after he admitted slitting the throats of his two young children.

"We are presently holding back from the charge of premeditated murder, but this could always change in the light of (more) testimony," a prosecutor said.

Prosecutors said the man, who was locked in a bitter custody battle, admitted on Sunday that he had killed his five-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son after taking them to his apartment in a suburb of the central French city of Lyon.

A judicial source said the man had visitation rights, but only in the presence of another person, and he had brought the children home for the first time without a third party being present.

He was arrested last Saturday after witnesses said his former wife had raised the alarm after encountering him on the stairwell of the building with bloodstained clothes. He fled on roller skates.

A knife that is thought to be the murder weapon has been found at the scene of the crime.