ESTHER DINGLEY DISAPPEARANCE: Boyfriend says missing girlfriend could have been taken by a hunter
THE boyfriend of missing Esther Dingley, 37, (above right) has said she could have been abducted by a hunter after she went missing hiking in the Pyrenees Mountains.
Dan Colegate (top left) rubbished claims she could have voluntarily disappeared and that she was unhappy in their relationship.
However, he and her family think it is most likely that she had an accident while climbing in the mountains near the French/Spanish border.
He said he is "lost in a world that no longer makes sense" since she went missing while hiking in the Pyrenees Mountains on November 22.
Mr Colegate made the emotional statement in a pack released today about her disappearance.
Mr Colgate and Esther's family, who are being helped by the Lucy Blackman Trust (LBT), have released the pack, which speculates on what may have happened to her, to appeal for more people to come forward.
They have ruled out the theory that it was a voluntary disappearance, saying it would have been "totally out of character," she had no motivation to do so, and has accessed no funds since she went missing.
The family believe that an accident is the most likely explanation, but they have not ruled out foul play and someone else being involved.
Mr Colegate said: "He said: 'It's a question I consider countless times every day. I accept Esther may have had an accident. But so much about that doesn't make sense.
'Why couldn't they find her? Or even a single trace of her equipment? The fact no trace was found – and given the specifics of the weather, terrain and location – I lean towards somebody else being involved, even though that raises its own questions.
'A third person being involved is the only other viable alternative.'
He added that during his time retracing her steps, he spotted hunters out shooting, and wondered whether she may have encountered someone who was armed.
He added: "Since Esther went missing I have been lost in a world that no longer makes sense to me.
"Every aspect of my life and the future I dream of includes Esther. We have built a life that focuses on being a team, where ‘home’ is wherever we are together, and where nothing matters as long as we have
"Spending occasional times apart, to pursue separate goals, recharge and intensify the
pleasure of being together, is part of that for us.
"Seeing Esther happy in the mountains, expanding her boundaries and discovering more about herself makes me happier than I can describe.
"I never imagined that one day she would not come home. Many times we had discussed how we
would grow old together and take slow walks reflecting on the adventures of our youth.
"The pain of her disappearance is excruciating, but even that pales into insignificance against the pain of not knowing what’s happened to her. It’s crippling.
"The nightmares. The constant questioning. The helplessness.
"Until Esther is found I have to continue to hold on to the hope that she can come home safely.
"She was simply the best person I’ve ever met. She is kind, generous, compassionate, intelligent and
creative. She wears her heart on her sleeve and always sees the best in others.
"There is a reason Esther has a first class Oxford degree and represented Great Britain as a junior
rower, among her many other material achievements that came from her determination and
"Yet none of those achievements are the reason I love her so much. The real reason,
the one that drew me in almost 19 years ago and sustained us both through the ups and downs of
any normal relationship, is her unwavering goodness and commitment to doing what she feels is
"It is true that once Esther sets her mind to a goal she will move mountains to make it happen, but
that has always remained secondary to her commitment to helping those in need and leaving the
world she touches a better place.
"We can never finish a hike without her pockets bulging with litter she’s picked up, she won’t pass a stranger without smiling, and every decision Esther makes is governed by a powerful moral code.
"If anybody has any information, no matter how insignificant it might seem, or if they know anybody
who was in the area at the time, who may have been working outdoors, hunting, walking, hiking or
cycling, please, please contact the LBT Global Hotline. Information can be provided anonymously
and passed on to the police in this way."
LBT Global Hotline: +44 (0) 800 098 8485
WhatsApp: +44 (0) 7545 826 497