Stock crime police jailed siren
Prosecutor confirmed that five bodies had been found to AFP. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Bobigny: French police on Tuesday arrested a man suspected of murdering a mother and her four children found dead at home on Christmas Day, a law enforcement source said.

Authorities discovered the bodies of the woman and her children aged nine months, four, seven and 10 years old in their flat in the town of Meaux east of Paris on Monday evening after worried relatives sounded the alarm, local prosecutor Jean-Baptiste Bladier said.

The police source said the main suspect had been detained in the nearby town of Sevran.

"The flat showed no sign of breaking and entering, and the father was absent," he said earlier.

A source close to the case said the 35-year-old mother and her children were killed with "a cold weapon", a term usually used to refer to a knife. The source said police had been looking for a 33-year-old man.

The Versailles judicial police service opened an inquiry into "premeditated murder".

The Paris region has recently seen a series of infanticides.

In late November, a 41-year-old man confessed to killing his three daughters, aged four to 11, and turned himself in.

Police found them dead in his home in the town of Alfortville, in the south-eastern suburbs of the capital.

A month earlier, in October, a gendarme killed his three daughters before killing himself at his home in Vemars, northeast of the capital.

On average, a woman is killed every three days in France. Some 118 women were killed by their partner or ex-partner in France last year.