A court in Los Angeles has given temporary guardianship of Michael Jackson’s three children to their cousin, Tito Jackson Jr.

The children’s grandmother Katherine Jackson has been their guardian since the singer’s death in 2009.

However, Judge Mitchell Beckloff made the decision after concerns were raised over Ms Jackson’s absence from the family home.

Reports of a rift in the Jackson family have emerged in recent days.

Police were called to Ms Jackson’s home on Monday as a result of a “minor scuffle” reportedly involving two members of the Jackson family.

Three of Michael Jackson’s siblings and his children, Paris, 14, Prince Michael, 15, and 10-year-old Prince Michael II (also called Blanket) were present at the time.

That came days after Ms Jackson was reported as missing. On Tuesday, Paris Jackson tweeted that she hadn’t seen her grandmother for nine days.

There have been conflicting claims about her wellbeing and whereabouts, with pictures emerging of her later with relatives in Arizona.

Questions were raised at the Los Angeles hearing about whether Ms Jackson was being held against her will, with Tito Jackson Jr. telling the court he had had a conversation with his grandmother in which she used strange phrases and her words were “slurred”.

In addition to the change of guardian, Judge Beckloff also ordered that the children not be removed from the state of California.

However, he said there was no evidence that Ms Jackson had done anything wrong and that he would restore her as the children’s guardian on her return, the Associated Press reports.

Michael Jackson died aged 50 of an overdose of the anaesthetic, propofol, in June 2009.

BBC NEWS

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