Detectives probing the death have arrested a 53-year-old Isle of Wight man – the woman’s son – on suspicion of murder. He has been admitted to a psychiatric hospital.
According to prosecutors, the duo were returning from their family chateau in the Ardeche department of France on Friday when the woman’s body was discovered at the port in Calais. The man and his mother were heading back to the UK, but when they went to exit the vehicle it was discovered that the woman had passed away. She had been dead for some time as rigor mortis had set in.
Bruises over the elderly lady’s body have raised questions as to whether or not the death is of a suspicious nature. The unnamed individual is said to have been suffering from cancer, however.
The accused denies the allegation against him and has said that the deceased’s bruises had been caused by a number of falls. He has told detectives that his mother was feeling unwell during their trip and wanted to return home to the UK. On the journey to Calais, the suspect says he believed his mother was sleeping.
Police have raided a home belonging to the family in a hamlet called Le Bost, as well as the chateau in Arcdeche. It is at both addresses that traces of blood have been found, according to local paper Le Journal Du Centre.
Neither the accused or the deceased have been named by Police yet. The family are said to own 3 properties in France and the late father – and husband – was a doctor.
A spokesperson for the Foreign Office has told Island Echo:
“We are aware of the death of a British woman and the arrest of a British man in Calais. We are liaising with the French authorities.”
UPDATE TUESDAY – The deceased woman has been named as 86-year-old Barbara Odgers from Bembridge.
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