A woman from France kept her dead mum hidden in a freezer for 10 years so she could continue claiming her £1,700-a-month old age pension, prosecutors said on Tuesday.
The body of the 90-year-old woman was discovered in the freezer at the bottom of the garden after detectives started investigating the alleged social security fraudster – her 55-year-old daughter – whose name cannot be made known for legal reasons.
“They were hidden in a freezer, and there had been no report of the mother’s death,” said a prosecuting source in nearby Mont-de-Marsan, capital of the Landes department.
“The freezer was not connected to the electricity supply going into the house. It was just a hiding place,” the source added.
The alleged fraudster was first interviewed by police on Tuesday and claimed her mother died seven years ago.
It is understood that the investigators noticed, however, that there had been no medical fees claimed by the mother since 2007, suggesting that the time of death was more likely to be a decade ago.
Daily Mail reports that all the mother’s benefits arrangements, including drawing an old age pension, continued as normal throughout that time.
At the time of death, the pair were living some 200 miles away, close to Toulouse, which means the woman would have had to have transported the corpse in secret when they moved to Horsarrieu in July 2016.
Also, police have evidence that the suspect had put her own picture on her mother’s driving licence – an offence that led to a search of the property.
The corpse was found wrapped in a tarpaulin, with old clothes used to hide it.
An autopsy was due to be held on Wednesday to try to establish whether the mother had died of natural causes, or whether foul play was involved.