A toddler spent Christmas alone in his home with his dead mother's body - believing the young mum was simply asleep.
The three-year-old, from Loison-sous-Lens, in the northern Pas de Calais region of France, was eventually found by his grandfather sitting alongside the body of his mum, Emilie Decroix, 28. It is not known how long Emilie had been dead.
The little boy had previously answered the phone to his grandfather over the Christmas period and told him 'mummy is asleep'.
The concerned grandfather eventually visited the house on New Year's Eve, where he found his daughter dead, and his grandson sitting with her body.
The police revealed that Emilie suffered an aneurysm close to her brain, causing sudden death. A source told reporters:
'Emilie lived alone with her little boy who clearly believed she was sleeping and might wake up. Before the ruptured aneurysm, she would have had all the appearances of a young, fit woman – the child could clearly not envisage that she might be dead.'
The police added that Emilie had not been in touch with friends or family since before Christmas, raising fears she could have been dead for some time:
'Emilie had not contacted anyone since before Christmas, suggesting that she may have died before this time.'
The little boy was placed into the care of his grandparents and was undergoing counselling.