Toulouse, France - A French court Thursday extended the provisional detention of a French gardener held after being charged with the murder of English expatriate Patricia Wilson who disappeared in August.

Jean-Louis Cayrou, Wilson's former gardener, had appealed for release but the appeals court in Montpellier rejected the demand to end his detention.

Wilson, 58, has not been seen since August 17, when she was dropped off at her home in the village of Vabre-Tizac in the Aveyron region.

Police believe the 50-year-old Cayrou killed the Englishwoman after she decided to end a brief relationship with him.

Scores of gendarmes and searchers backed by dogs continued Thursday to scour a heavily wooded area close to Wilson's home.

The hunt was focused on countryside near the village of Sanvensa in southern France, about 15 kilometres (nine miles) from where she lived.

Prosecutors have indicated that they have reason to believe the 58-year-old's body may have been dumped in the area following her suspected murder.

DNA tests have revealed traces of Wilson's blood in the gardener's car and a sum of 13,000 euros ($16,350) has been found in cash at his caravan home. - Sapa-AFP