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Photograph: Freeimages.com/Helmut Gevert

A 41-year-old woman who died after being held captive for weeks on a secluded farm in western Germany answered a personal advertisement, prosecutors said on Friday.

A 46-year-old man and his 47-year-old former wife, who lived on the farm are now being held in remand.

The victim answered the advertisement placed by the man in a newspaper seeking a woman for a long-term relationship.

She eventually moved into farm with the couple near the small town of Hoexter in the western German state of North Rhine Westphalia, prosecutors said.

"The woman was held captive and physically abused" before dying as a result of a blow to the head by a blunt instrument, prosecutors said. However, they said, there was no evidence of sexual abuse.

The couple had tried last week to drive the severely injured woman to her apartment in the neighbouring state of Lower Saxony but their car had an engine failure.

They initially tried to call a taxi, officials told dpa before being forced to call an ambulance for the woman, who died about two hours later in hospital.

The daily Bild quoted neighbours as saying that when the woman arrived at the farm she had a long hair, but then suddenly she was bald. The newspaper said was held in a cellar.

The neighbours said the couple regularly dragged the 41-year-old woman at night to a car before driving off with her.

The landlady told Bild that the man and his ex-wife had lived on the farm for five years, always paying their rent in cash and originally presenting themselves as brother and sister.

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