Picture: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)

London - A Briton was arrested at Calais with his mother’s corpse in the passenger seat of his car.

The unnamed 53-year-old told French officials that she had only just died – however it was clear she had been dead for many hours.

Pascal Marconville, the Boulogne area prosecutor, said the pair were from the Isle of Wight and had been staying at their French properties, one in the Ardeche and two in Burgundy.

Investigators found the 86-year-old mother’s blood in two of the holiday homes.

Neighbours had heard the pair shouting at each other and her body was covered in bruises.

The son told police officers that his mother was being treated for cancer and had suffered "recurrent falls" while walking.

Mr Marconville said forensic scientists had not discovered any evidence to suggest a crime had been committed and a post-mortem examination showed only that the mother, the widow of a GP, was "in a very precarious state of health".

Following his arrest while trying to board a ferry at 5am on Friday, her son was judged to be in a fragile mental state and taken to a psychiatric unit instead of police custody. Mr Marconville said the investigation would continue.

Daily Mail