Two women have been arrested at Liverpool Airport after allegedly trying to smuggle a dead relative on to a passenger plane bound for Berlin.
The corpse was brought to the airport in a wheelchair. The two women, aged 44 and 66, tried to trick staff at the check-in desk that the man was just sleeping, staff became suspicious and alerted the authorities. They were arrested at the scene.
It is believed that the 91-year-old German national had died a day earlier, and that his two relatives were attempting to smuggle his body back to his homeland to avoid repatriation fees, which can be as much as £3,000.
The women remain in police custody and are being questioned on suspicion of failing to give notification of a death.
The man’s body had been driven to the airport from a house Oldham in a taxi after the women told the driver he was asleep.
The driver is said to have been left “upset and devastated” after being informed of the circumstances.
A member of staff at the airport said: “The airport staff at the check in were not happy with the situation. They tried to get him in by a wheelchair. He was wearing sunglasses. He was dead before they got him in the taxi and he had been dead for a day.”
Merseyside Police confirmed the man was dead on arrival at the airport.
A spokesman said: ‘We are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a 91-year-old German male passenger at JLA, due to fly out to Berlin on Saturday.
“Two people are helping police with their enquiries.”
“We are still investigating the exact circumstances of the death, but don’t believe it is murder or manslaughter at this stage.”
The airport remained open throughout the incident.