It would be worth knowing whether the lady had visited or had bought items originating from the Mediterranean recently.
Sorry that the picture is not better quality - it wouldn't stay still :)
There are a number of Steatoda species found in Britain, all so-called 'false widow' spiders. Three are possible in or near buildings, S. bipunctata (very widespread), S. grossa (widespread and sometimes very frequent in the southwest, but becomes much scarcer further north and east, but in the last few years seems to be increasing) and S. nobilis, the one which gets the press for biting humans (originally confined to the south coast, now increasingly turning up elsewhere in southern England and found in 2006 in Barry, S. Wales). Steatoda nobilis has on occasions been responsible for bites, even though many of the cases publicised for this are almost certainly due to another cause. If you can upload a picture or send one to me at email@example.com as an attachment I can see if it can be identified.
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