Death In Paradise fans were left shocked as a beloved character departed the series in a surprise twist.

DS Florence Cassell, played by French actress Josephine Jobert, was thought to be dead at the end of last week’s cliffhanger episode of the BBC One crime drama.

She had been shot in the stomach, apparently left for dead, but in the latest episode it was revealed that her fiance Patrice had been murdered.

However, the tragedy was all too much for her, and she decided to leave the island of Saint Marie for good.

She left behind colleague DI Jack Mooney, played by Ardal O’Hanlon.

Jobert, who has been in the series since 2015, went on Twitter after the episode aired to thank fans for their support.

She wrote: “Guys, I’m going to go to bed and watch a Netflix.

“I’ll answer your messages tomorrow but until then, I just want to say thank you to every one of you for all your support and your kindness and for being there, simply.

“I’m going to miss you every Thursday.”

She added: “I’ll explain all of this in a few days. Don’t worry. DIP had been an amazing experience that I’ll never forget.

“And you made it possible because of all the love you brought to the show, years after years.

“Have a good night, see you tomorrow.”

Viewers were left feeling bereft following the character’s swift exit from the series, with one writing on Twitter: “How sad was #DeathInParadise going to miss you florence thought there would be something between you and mooney.”

“Wait, what? Nooooooooo, don’t go Florence @Josie_official #DeathInParadise,” another said.

One disappointed viewer said they were “so gutted” she had left, while another added: “Mon dieu, don’t even @ me, I’m going to need a few days to get over this tragedy…”

The sun-soaked show is set on the fictional Caribbean island of Saint Marie, and sees Hanlon leading the crime-fighting team as Mooney.

Death In Paradise has been a hit with viewers and in the ratings since it debuted in 2011.

It has undergone a number of cast changes, with Ben Miller starring as the main character initially, before Kris Marshall and then Hanlon.