Police have launched a murder investigation after a British woman vanished from her blood-stained home in southern France.
Former advertising executive Patricia Wilson moved to the village of Vabre Tizac, 40 miles north east of Toulouse, with her husband Donald five years ago.
The couple separated last year before Mrs Wilson, 58, apparently struck up an intimate relationship with her 50-year-old gardener.
Officers were called to her isolated stone cottage last Tuesday by neighbours who had become concerned about her welfare.
Her car had been parked outside the house for some time, and her shutters were not open despite a local heatwave.
Police then found blood stains on the floor and walls of her cottage, according to reports.
Her body has not been found, and police divers are searching lakes near her home after launching a murder investigation.
It is said Mrs Wilson, from Welwyn Garden City, sold her property portfolio in Hertfordshire and moved to France with her husband to restore their dream home.
Her gardener, who has not been named, was arrested on Friday after blood samples taken from her house and his car matched Mrs Wilson's DNA, say reports.
On Sunday, police in Montpellier charged him with murder, which he denies.
Mrs Wilson's sister-in-law Fen Bailey told The Daily Mail the whole family were in shock.
The 70-year-old, from Welwyn Garden City, said: "We wish the police could tell us more. They still haven't found her. They've been dredging lakes and searching for her.
"I understand she was having an affair with a gardener, as she’d broken up with her partner and she’d been all by herself looking for somebody."
She added: "I don’t think Patricia was working, but she used to work for Thomson’s, the phone directory firm.
"She seemed to have lots of hobbies and interests. She was always talking about books and art on Facebook.
"She studied art in Leeds many years ago. She was a very outgoing person, very full of life and very full of humour. It is all such an incredible shock."
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We are aware of reports of a missing British national in France and are in contact with the investigating authorities."