A Danish man has appeared in court in Germany accused of murdering his two children.

Local police found the charred remains of Peter-Thue Rudgaard's nine and 10-year-old daughters in the back of his car. The defendant had doused it in petrol and set it alight, the court was told.

The car was found in woods near the town of Nauen in Brandenburg, 40km (25 miles) east of Berlin. An initial autopsy confirmed that both children were still alive, though sedated, when the fire was started.

The defending lawyer told the court that Rudgaard had wanted to kill himself in the blaze but had survived with injuries.

Court spokesperson Ralf-Dietrich Schulz told journalists: "The defendant is charged with the double murder of his nine and ten-year-old daughters.

"He is thought to have used petrol to set on fire the car in which the children were, after sedating them and therefore, according to the charges, intentionally killed them with base motives."

Rudgaard hid behind a sheet of paper to conceal his identity while the hearing took place.

The trial was adjourned to 1 March when one of the judges was taken ill.