Esther disappeared during a hiking trip in the Pyrenees last year.
The body of missing British hiker Esther Dingley has been found by her boyfriend. 37-year-old. Esther was last seen on 22 November last year, during a solo hike in the Pyrenees mountains near the Spain/France border.
Esther, from County Durham in the north-east of England, had left her life in the UK back in 2014 along with her long-term partner, Daniel Colegate. The pair bought a campervan and had been travelling around Europe ever since. At the time of Esther’s disappearance, her partner was house-sitting at a farmhouse in France, approximately 100 miles away.
Esther – who had been providing regular updates to Daniel during her days-long trip – called him via Whatsapp video call when she reached the top of the Pic de Sauvegarde mountain. But when he couldn’t get hold of her in the hours and days that followed, concerns grew for the 37-year-old’s whereabouts. Rescue searches and investigators scoured the area in great depth shortly after Esther was reported missing, but their efforts were thwarted by heavy snow. In the ensuing months, Daniel Colegate started his own search for his partner, walking more than 620 miles across the mountains she had traversed, but to no avail.
In July, a fragment of bone was discovered in the mountain range, and a statement from charity LBT Global some days later confirmed the sad news that it had been identified as Esther Dingley’s. Now, the rest of Esther’s body, as well as her belongings, have been discovered nearby by Esther’s partner Daniel. Speaking earlier this month following the DNA confirmation, Daniel and her mother Ria Bryant said they were “distraught” at the news.
“We have all known for many months that the chance we would get to hug our beloved Esther again, to feel her warm hand in ours, to see her beautiful smile and to watch the room light up again whenever she arrived was tiny, but with this confirmation that small hope has now faded. It is devastating beyond words,” read the grieving family’s statement.
LBT Global have said that an accident “is the most likely hypothesis” for the cause of Esther’s death. Her partner had previously described the case as “baffling,” suggesting he believed there may have been foul play at hand. “Esther’s a very experienced hiker. The terrain she was on is not difficult. The weather was excellent. It does not mean she hasn’t had an accident; I just consider it unlikely,” Daniel said in a statement last year.
Our thoughts are with Esther’s family at this very difficult time.