Body of missing British hiker Esther Dingley found by partner

Dingley’s family said an accident was ‘the most likely hypothesis’

The partner of a British hiker who vanished in the French Pyrenees last year has found her body, her family said on Tuesday.

Esther Dingley, 37, had not been heard from since she sent a WhatsApp message on November 22.

Her partner Daniel Colegate found her body on Monday following a “relentless search”, according to a family statement released by charity LBT Global.

It said an accident was “the most likely hypothesis”.

Mr Colegate found Dingley’s body and equipment close to where a bone was found by a mountain runner two weeks ago.

A DNA test on the bone confirmed last month that it was hers.

“At this stage an accident is the most likely hypothesis, given the location and other early indications,” the statement said.

“A full investigation is under way to confirm the details.”

Her family said they “remain incredibly grateful for the efforts of the police units involved and their commitment to understanding the exact circumstances of Esther’s death”.

Dingley had planned to make a loop around the Salvaguardia peak, which stands at 2,738 metres above sea level, between Spain and where her vehicle was parked, according to investigators

The BBC reported she and Mr Colegate, who were together for 20 years, had travelled around Europe in a camper van after leaving north-east England in 2014.

Mr Colegate was house-sitting at a Gascony vineyard while Dingley took their motor home on the journey to Spain.

Updated: August 10th 2021, 7:52 PM